Justise Winslow '14, Duke Blue Devils win NCAA Championship

The St. John’s community was obsessed with March Madness, just as the rest of the country was this season. Mavericks from across the United States were watching and cheering on SJS alumnus Justise Winslow ’14, who led the Duke Blue Devils to the NCAA Championship game against the Wisconsin Badgers on Monday, April 6. It was an impossibly close game, but the Blue Devils ultimately defeated Wisconsin 68-63.

After the Blue Devils beat No. 5 Utah 63-57, and No. 2 Gonzaga 66-52 to reach the Final Four in Indianapolis, they knocked out Michigan State 81-61. In a major upset, the Badgers bested the previously undefeated Wildcats to pit Duke against Wisconsin for the championship title.

The Houston Chronicle spoke to Coach Krzyzewski after Duke’s victory against the Zags. "He had a great Tournament," Mike Krzyzewski said. "It doesn't surprise me about Justise. Justise is a very special young man, not just a special basketball player. He went to St. John's. He learned to be a total person, not just a basketball player. And he came to Duke, and he's trying to do that at Duke. So I just think he's one of the really special young men playing college sports right now. He's got this great background."

Justise's phenomenal play action began with a homecoming in Houston for the NCAA South Regional Tournament. Friends, family, and former coaches waited in anticipation for the arrival of the Duke basketball team at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. The group of fans and close friends were gathered in the lobby holding signs to welcome Winslow back to Houston.

Winslow’s former coach and mentor, Stephen Trauber, coordinated the secret gathering of Winslow’s family and friends to surprise him upon his arrival to Houston. Coaches, teachers, and former students from St. John’s were all in attendance. Winslow was proudly decked out in his Duke blue as he walked through the crowd, hugging friends and shaking hands with fans. It was a St. John’s reunion of sorts as former teammates gathered around him to congratulate him and show their support.

Along with four other Blue Devils, Winslow was named to the All-ACC Academic Team at the beginning of March. To be eligible for consideration, a student-athlete must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during his academic career. Duke placed the second most number of players on the all-academic team, according to Duke Sports Information.