After soaring to a win in the 2012 NCAA Slam Dunk Contest, high-flying NAIA guard James Justice seems ready to start entertaining D-League crowds as he guns for a shot in The Association. After signing his NBADL contract, the 5'10" floor general is eligible for this year's draft.
Editor's note: Following the publishing of this piece, Justice has since been invited to training camp with the Tulsa 66ers, the direct NBA affiliate of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Earlier this week, we at RidiculousUpside.com reported that after completing his collegiate career at an NAIA school, Ronnie Moss would be entering this coming Friday's NBA D-League Draft.
Now, another fellow NAIA point guard seems set to join him in the player pool.
2012 NCAA Slam Dunk Champion James Justice, who played his undergrad ball at Marin Methodist College, has officially signed his NBADL contract and is now eligible for the forthcoming draft.
At just 5'10", Justice defied the odds in college, and proved he had hops similar to the likes of Spud Webb and Nate Robinson. It was with this high-flying, leaping slam, that Justice wowed the crowd and took home the 2012 NCAA Slam Dunk Contest title.
As it just so happens, Justice's height and soaring ability aren't the only similarities he draws to the entertaining Robinson. He's also a pestering defender, using his athleticism to his advantage as he throws off his various opponents. During his time in college, Justice averaged at least two steals per game on a consistent annual basis.
Like Moss, Justice has the ability to bring intensity and an immense amount of energy to a game each time he hits the hardwood. Such a boost could be useful to any NBA and/or D-League squad looking to inject a bit of life into its daily rotation.
The appeal that Justice carries with him to the NBADL court is different than that of most of his competition. Everyone is gunning for a spot in order to prove they (eventually) deserve a shot in The Association. That's a complete and utter given.
That said, what's interesting about the high-flying floor general is the excitement he will bring along with him to an D-League team and its city. In a league where fans are hanging on a thread, wondering if their favorite player or two will receive a call-up and leave town, Justice's ability to slam it home and rattle the rim is surely to give home crowds something else to look forward to each and every night.
A player like Nate Robinson may not be the best in the league, but his skill set has made a fan-favorite in every city he's toured during his NBA career. His ability to jump high and dunk the ball with authority, paired up with a hunger to turn the intensity knob all the way up each time he took the court, makes it a certainty that Robinson will put on a show as he proves he can be an asset to a number of NBA ball clubs.
With a stint in the D-League poised to start with a draft selection later this week, perhaps Justice will be using the minor leagues to show he can do the same thing.