Winston Talks About His Commitment to Cal

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By Jim McGill, Staff Writer
Posted Apr 27, 2017
If by BearInsider Staff or Contributor, this article is Copyright © 2017 BearInsider.com


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Birmingham PG Deschon Winston
With only soph point guard Brandon Chauca coming back from a year off nursing a hand injury and junior combo guard Don Coleman as potential starting point guards next season, the commitment of Birmingham (Lake Balboa, CA) senior point guard Deschon Winston was welcome news for Cal fans yesterday.

"They first came in the picture when I played against my friend Juhwan (Cal signee Juhwan Harris-Dyson, his teammate freshman and sophomore years)," said Winston. "They were there to see him play and it just happened that they were playing against my team that night and I had a pretty good game (pretty good to the tune of 43 points on 17-of-22 shooting).

"We were just having fun competing and we looked up at the scoreboard and saw the 43 points after the game. I was just trying to win the game.

"From then on, Cal starting following me, too, and staying in touch.

"After all the coaching changes, Coach Wyking (Jones) got in touch with me again and they offered me this week and I accepted on the spot."

A strong student (3.9 gpa), Winston was considering offers from the Ivy Leagues late in the recruiting season after getting an early offer from Arizona State, though Winston's preference was to stay in California and play for an academically prestigious school and Cal fit the bill on both counts.

"I got offered early by ASU but the academics are so much better at Cal," said Winston. "Academics were always on my mind and playing in California is important to me, too."

As a senior, Winston had the chance to play not only against his friend Harris-Dyson in Birmingham's victory over Heritage Christian but he also played against future Bear Justice Sueing and his Mater Dei squad, losing a hard-fought 74-67 game to the nation's #5 team.

Even though his recruitment has been fairly recent, Winston feels very comfortable with the new Bear head coach and staff.

"He's a real cool dude," said Winston of Jones. "Talking with him on the phone and meeting him a few times, he's a great guy.

"They have big plans at Cal.

Winston's stepfather, Laurian Watkins, was more than excited when the scholarship opportunity opened up for Winston this week at Cal.

"I think it's awesome," said Watkins of Winston's commitment to Cal. "Obviously Cal's a no-brainer for Shon with their academic reputation and their place in the Pac-12. It's very attractive.

"Shon's always been an academic kid. There were other situations out there but that was a very important component to us."

Winston flew somewhat beneath the radar largely because of lack of early exposure -a fact not lost on Watkins, who also coached and trained Winston and his teammates.

"A lot of college coaches are tied into recruiting kids on the shoe circuit and if you're not on the shoe circuit (like Winston), it's pretty difficult to get accurately ranked and noticed."

Winston also was a late bloomer physically, growing 10 inches in his last two years of high school. He also trained with college and occasionally pro players to help hone his game.

"He was really short as a freshman," said Watkins. "I was always taller than him then all of a sudden, he was casting a shadow way bigger than me."

Watkins describes Winston's game as versatile, being able to score efficiently from the perimeter, mid-range or off the dribble.

"Shon does whatever it takes to get his teammates involved in the game, even if they're having bad games," said Watkins. "It's not about his numbers. And teams don't dictate the pace of his game. He always plays under control.

"He's a strong defender, too. He gets his hands on the ball and plays smart defense."

Winston averaged 17.6 points, 3.8 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 2.2 steals for the 27-4 LA City Section champion Patriots as a senior this season.

The 6-2/180 point guard is walking into a situation where he could see a lot of playing time with Cal's thin backcourt depth chart but he's not taking anything for granted with his arrival in less than two months.

"You still have to compete and play hard because nothing will ever just be given to you," said Winston.

"I can't wait to get up there."

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