Last week, Duke star Jahlil Okafor announced that he will forego his final three years of eligibility and enter the 2015 NBA Draft. Today, a second member of Mike Krzyzewski’s 2014 recruiting class has followed in Okafor’s footsteps, as the university announced that forward Justise Winslow is going pro. Winslow was arguably Duke’s best player during the 2015 NCAA Tournament and the team’s run to the National Championship, and he averaged 12.6 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Blue Devils. He is the No. 6 overall rated player in the upcoming draft, according to ESPN‘s Chad Ford.
Duke freshman Justise Winslow will enter the 2015 NBA Draft, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Tuesday.
“We’re very happy for Justise and his family,” said Krzyzewski. “He had a sensational year, both on and off the court. He was an amazing factor for our success in winning the national championship. From everything we have found out, Justise is projected to be a high lottery pick and we believe that to be true. This is a great time to take advantage of this opportunity. We’re behind him all the way and love him and his family.”
Winslow, an All-Final Four team selection, joins Corey Maggette (1999), Luol Deng (2004), Kyrie Irving (2011), Austin Rivers (2012), Jabari Parker (2014) and teammate Jahlil Okafor (2015) as Blue Devil freshmen to enter the NBA Draft after just one season of college basketball.
Winslow, the third-highest freshman scorer in the ACC this season, averaged 12.5 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting from the field. In 31 of his 39 appearances, Winslow scored 10-or-more points, the second most double-digit scoring games by a freshman in the ACC this year, behind only Okafor (35). Winslow’s 31 double-digit scoring games ranks tied for third on Duke’s freshman list, while his 492 total points tied with Jason Williams for eighth on the Duke rookie chart.
Winslow also averaged 6.5 rebounds per game, second most by a freshman in the conference. He became just the second player 6-6 or under for Krzyzewski to average at least 6.0 rebounds per game, joining Chris Carrawell (6.1 rpg. In 1999-00). Winslow posted seven double-doubles during the 2014-15 season, including three-straight double-doubles in games against Virginia, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. Winslow was recognized for his athletic prowess by being named to the All-ACC Freshman Team and the USBWA All-District III Team.
“This year at Duke University, my dreams and aspirations have literally come true,” said Winslow. “Since I was a kid in third grade playing for the Houston Jaguars, I envisioned one day playing at the collegiate level and winning a championship. If you fast forward 10 years and my dream became a reality. The friendships and relationships I’ve formed with those a part of the Duke and Durham community have been even better than winning the National Championship. With that being said, my family and I have decided that I should declare for the NBA draft this year. Considering the success and growth that I have experienced over this past year as a player and as a person, I believe it is time to take the next step on my career path and play at the highest level.”