Quinn Cook is one of Aamir Justice’s favorite players in the NBA-not only because he won the 2017 D-League MVP and earned himself a position with the Golden State Warriors, but because they are both from Maryland.
When Justice was seven, however, his family decided to move from Silver Spring, Maryland, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“It was hard at first because the two states are a lot different: school-wise, people-wise, everything,” Justice said. “But I adjusted pretty quickly and I actually like it down here.”
Although half of Justice’s immediate family is near him in Florida, he regularly visits his extended family in Maryland and enjoys seeing old friends.
During the fall of 2017, Justice toured the University of Maryland with a family friend and walked the same campus from which his mother had previously graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business.
As they walked around campus, Justice said he liked how there seemed to be a campus-wide progression of improvement and that the highlight of his tour was being able to see the Verizon Center basketball court, a location he hopes to return to as a University of Maryland student athlete.
“I have interest in playing at the University of Maryland someday,” Justice told Future150 writer Zachary Lyon in September. “I took a visit to their campus a week ago, and I really liked it.”
Even though Justice is from the talent-rich area that produced NBA players such as Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley, his love of basketball didn’t develop until moving to Fort Lauderdale.
“Baseball was my first sport. I had always loved basketball, but when I moved to Florida, I started working out more and found myself getting better,” Justice said. “I really fell in love with it when I moved to Florida.”
In seventh grade, Justice joined the South Florida Kings American Athletic Union (AAU) organization and continues to train with them. Beginning in 2012, the SFK welcomes youth and high school Florida student-athletes year-round to participate in camps and personal training. With their attention to detail and emphasis to fundamentals, Justice considers SFK a crucial influence in the development of his physical and mental maturity.
“SFK is a good local group that cares about the kids and works hard to put them in positions to succeed,” said local scout Jake Perper.
That same year, Justice attended a Miami basketball camp hosted by Prince Frederick, Maryland, native Patrick Robinson, who is more recognizable by his nickname “PatTheRock.” After spending a brief amount of time with the Harlem Globetrotters, Robinson made his debut in 2004 on the ESPN show “Streetball,” where his dribbling ability established his nickname and fan acknowledgement.
Through summer camps, youth leagues and private one-on-one training, Robinson established a well-respected training regimen that catalyzed the development of professional basketball players, including Victor Oladipo and Skylar Diggins.
After discovering each other’s’ Maryland roots during Justice’s seventh-grade summer break, Justice and Robinson developed an ongoing four-year relationship.
“When I first saw him, I always knew how good he was going to be,” said Robinson. “It has been amazing to see his growth.”
Justice travels to Maryland five to six times a year to workout with Robinson for about one to two weeks and usually spends his spring and winter breaks at his academy. According to Robinson, the drills usually consist of in-games move, due to Justice’s ability to dribble the basketball and his explosiveness to the basketball that allows him to dunk the ball with ease.
“I think that he [Robinson] is one of the best trainers in the country,” said Justice.
Through training with Robinson and the South Florida Kings, Justice has developed as a versatile 6-foot-3 inch guard who can use his height and length to shoot over defenders and finish above the rim, while also being able to distribute the ball amongst his teammates.
Justice is currently listed as a shooting guard for American Heritage Delray High School but has transitioned to point guard for the past two years; a position switch that is intended to give Justice experience before his college career. As a point guard, Justice understands the importance of being a vocal leader and keeping his team focused and locked in every game.
“Every team needs someone to lead them in the right direction and get them going,” Justice said. “I take a lot of pride in that.”
“I really have a good knowledge for the game,” said Justice. “I think my best attribute is my IQ, knowing what to do on the court instead of what is the most attractive thing.”
Justice currently does not have any offers from collegiate programs but has received growing interest from Georgia Tech.
“It really was a motivator for me to keep working and to not let up and keep trying to push,” Justice said after being informed that Georgia Tech would be attending some of his games.
Having received no collegiate offers in high school, Robinson found himself in a similar situation and often shares his advice with Justice.
“We always talk about staying on course and continuing to work,” Robinson said. “Basketball is not short-term, it’s long-term. I always try to teach him not to work to be good in middle school, or in high school, but to think of the bigger picture.”
Although Justice considers himself underrated, his unbreakable work ethic is beginning to receive more recognition more than ever before. With one more year before heading to college, Justice plans on adding 15-20 pounds to his frame and perfecting his ball handling skills.
“I’m just really focused on working, progressing my game,” Justice said. “I feel like it will all work out in due time.”