With the tumultuous offseason for the Men’s Basketball program here at Cal, it is nice to have an upside to look at. California Golden Bears coach Wyking Jones has added a much-needed piece that could pay dividends in the end.
Deschon Winston, the 6-foot-2, 180 pound 3-star PG from Lake Balboa, California ranks 72nd on ESPN’s top 100 Point Guards of 2017, has some pretty big shoes to fill with the departure of Cal's entire starting line up from the 16-17 season and the loss of our 4-Star commit, Jemarl Baker. With that being said, we can assume Coach Jones will delegate a majority of the PG minutes to him so let's look at some tape and see what we can expect from Winston in the upcoming season.
While this video contains mostly highlights, it does show Winston’s ability to take and make the three both as a catch and shoot and as a pull-up. His shot has good timing and release, which only becomes harder to guard as he is also able to find his way into the paint and score or dish it back out.
He appears to have some pretty crafty handles and looks comfortable both splitting and beating defenders. The particular play that stood out to me comes at 1:37 minutes into the video. As he takes the ball into the paint and initiates contact and draws the double team, he doesn't rush and just throw the ball up hoping to draw the foul, instead he does a little head fake and gets the defenders off their feet and times his shot perfectly to go up as the defenders are coming down. The patience and basketball IQ of this play alone from someone High school is impressive.
The next play I want to look at comes at 1:48 into the video. As Winston's teammate drives to the hoop and draws a triple team, Winston is waiting with his feet set behind the arc. When he receives the pass and draws the defender over, he doesn't rush the shot; instead, he jab steps to get the defender off balance and then slide over to his left, reset his feet, square up and get a clean look at the basket. Again, the amount of patience and the comfort level needed to make this play, and make it as smoothly as in the video is ridiculously difficult.
And finally, the last play I want to look at from this vide comes at 2:17 into the video. Winston stays with the play and grabs to offensive rebound, acknowledges the defense is short handed and pushes the pace. He finds his teammate under the basket wide open and makes a perfect bounce pass to him for the assist. This play gives me a few things to look forward to with Winston. First, his dedication to the play and not giving up—Cal is known for our presence on the glass, and having a guard like Winston who can help go after the rebounds will alleviate some pressure from Kingsley Okoroh. Secondly, It shows his awareness of what is developing on the court and his ability to capitalize on this awareness as well as his willingness both to pass the ball and push the pace. The offensive pace being something we desperately need help with, and now have the opportunity to address with all the departures this offseason.
On top of everything Winston brings to the court, he also has a great relationship with another Cal recruit, Juhwan Harris-Dyson. He also is no stranger to a rigorous academic environment as he carries a 4.0 GPA and comes to Cal with junior college credits as well. Winston has the potential to be a home run for Coach Jones, as not only a great recruit athletically but academically as well. He seems to embody the “student-athlete” that fits into the culture Coach Jones wants to establish now.
What are your thoughts Cal Fans?