The Blazers need Beau Justice to shine in the second half of their season.
This season, VSU men’s basketball entered the year as the favorited team in the Gulf South Conference and the No. 11 team in the nation. They clawed their way to No. 5 in the nation before falling completely out of the top 25.
The Blazers opened the season on a tear, putting together a 9-0 start but have since amassed a 6-5 record over their last 11 games.
The Blazers have never lost a game by double digits. In fact, the widest margin they have lost by this season is five points. Meanwhile, the largest defeat they handed out was a 35-point home win over Albany State earlier this season.
So why the drastic drop off?
A lot of the early accolades came on the work of Beau Justice, who was tabbed to be a first team All-American by Street & Smith magazine.
This comes after he was named a National Association of Basketball Coaches All-American last season.
A graduate student from Peebles, Ohio, Beau lights it up for VSU anytime he touches the court. He came after his older brother, Blake, had a storied career for the Blazers.
Beau has made his own name at VSU, becoming a member of the 1,000-point club in just two seasons and leading the Blazers to two 25-win seasons and post-season appearances.
By the end of the season, Justice could find himself among the all-time top five scorers at VSU and a 40-40-90 member based off shooting percentages.
A player like Beau is unique, and the workload he carries for VSU isn’t typical for successful teams.
This season, he’s averaging nearly 36 minutes a game in conference competitions. He leads the team in points and free throw attempts, is second in assist and fourth in steals and rebounds in all competitions.
The wear and tear from the court is likely having an effect on the star guard.
The last thing the Blazers need is for their top player to be burnt out in the middle of the conference stretch they are in. They have eight games remaining on their schedule before entering the conference tournament.
Beau rests at the center of the Blazers’ offense, often using his skill to create shots for teammates. Sometimes that means putting his own body on the line and taking an extra bump.
His unselfish nature, coupled with his aggressiveness, drives the Blazers. VSU currently takes the spot as the highest scoring team in the conference with 90.5 points per game. The high level of success for the Blazers directly results from Beau’s work ethic, which he continues to improve.
Additionally, Beau has taken leaps for VSU during the offseason by working hard in the weight room and in the gym. He even encouraged teammates to join the extra practices and workouts. This adds to the close-knit relationship the team shares, showing they enjoy being around each other on and off the court.
Beau is the type of player that anybody would want as a teammate. When he’s hot, he’s unstoppable and makes your job easier. When he’s not, he can still create shots for teammates because of his unselfishness and the respect he gets from other teams.
The Blazers are married to Beau’s success, and if they want to achieve the post-season accomplishments that have plagued them for years, there won’t be a divorce coming anytime soon
Written by Juston Lewis, Editor-in-chief. Photo courtesy of VSU Athletics.
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