The 2nd Annual Justise Winslow Invitational Clinic in Houston was a rousing success.
50 campers assembled at the Miami Heat forward’s high school alma mater, St. John’s in Houston, for the two-day clinic held on June 24th and June 25th puffed up with boundless energy, as if they were diminutive superheroes, tasked with the simplest of missions–have fun.
And how could it not be fun?
To get their golden ticket to the event, which is one of the many programs offered though the Robin’s House Family Foundation, which was established to “encourage and guide children and young adults to discover their highest potential through education, recreation, and community outreach,” the kids had to write essays about how they would change the world.
“We couldn’t accept everybody, so we wanted to do something fun and creative,” Winslow said. “And I just like to see how kids think, even just talking to kids about different stuff like the draft or LaVar Ball, I just to see what they think. It’s interesting just to hear their perspective on things. We asked about community service, one thing they would do to help out the world, so they answered with things like helping the homeless, giving back, feeding the needy, that sort of thing. It’s just a great way to see how kids think and see how genuine their hearts are.”
Q-tipped with brand new adidas sneakers gifted by the brand to all those lucky to attend, the incoming 5th and 6th graders ran drills, shot jumpers, dribbled to the rim for layups and dove for loose balls as if their very lives depended on it.
All under the watchful eye of Winslow, who, despite the pull of today’s youth towards shooting three balls from well beyond the arc, worked directly with the young players, continuously sharing the importance of playing swarming, stingy defense.
“It really is tough,” said Winslow, about teaching the kids the merits of lockdown defense. “You see the way the game is going and everyone is in love with the three ball and that sort of thing, but I try to ingrain some of those fundamentals and just simple basketball principles. A lot of people forget that defense is 50 percent of the game, so we gotta keep hammering that home to the next generation so they don’t lose those fundamentals.”