Justice latest Kentuckian to play hoops at Vandy

February 29, 2016 FieldsColumn

BY MIKE FIELDS

Vanderbilt freshman Camron Justice was in the middle of the celebratory swarm on the Memorial Gym court after the Commodores beat Kentucky 74-62 in Nashville Saturday.

Camron Justice

Camron Justice

“I never was a huge fan of UK, but I was a Kentucky kid and I grew up watching their basketball team, so beating them was a big deal,” Justice said. “A bunch of people back home called and texted me congratulations.

“It was a huge momentum-builder for our team. It helped bring us together.”

Since the first month of the season, Justice, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Knott County Central, hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time. He averaged 16 minutes and 5.8 points in Vandy’s first six games, but a subsequent groin injury slowed him down. He missed five games, and coming off that injury, his play has been spotty.

He did have a career-high 12 points (on 4-for-7 three-point shooting) against Tennessee on Jan. 20, but he’s had only 17 points in nine games since. He played only a few seconds against UK on Saturday. 

It’s been a big adjustment for Justice, who won Mr. Basketball honors last year after finishing his career as the third-leading boys’ scorer (3,587 points) in the history of Kentucky high school hoops. He’s scored 72 points this season, just 10 fewer than his single-game high at Knott Central.

“It’s all part of a freshman-season process. It’s a matter of me staying healthy, playing consistently and making sure I bring something to the table,” said Justice, who’s also had a nagging sports hernia. 

Justice is the latest in a long line of Kentucky high school products to play for Vandy.

The Commodores’ list of 1,000 point scorers included eight Kentuckians:

  • Phil Cox (Cawood) — 1,724
  • Tom Hagan (St. Xavier) — 1,514
  • Barry Goheen (Marshall County) — 1,509
  • Dan Langhi (Marshall County) — 1,502
  • Scott Draud (Highlands) — 1,466
  • Terry Compton (Hart County) — 1,326
  • Joe Ford (Mayfield) — 1,193
  • Brett Burrow (North Hardin) — 1,149

Among other Kentuckians who’ve played at Vanderbilt: Aaron Beth (Marshall County), Bob “Snake” Grace (Christian County), Robbie Graham (Fleming County), Jimmy Gray (Durrett), Dan Hall (Marshall County), Jerry Hall (North Marshall), Scott Hundley (Scott County), David Joiner (Christian County), Rick Jones (Scott County), Frank Kornet (Lexington Catholic), Jimmy Lenz (Ballard), Bryan Milburn (Russell County), Al Miller (Ballard), Ross Neltner (Highlands), Aaron Noll (Covington Catholic), Don Ringstaff (Livingston Central), Chip Rupp (Henry Clay), Jordan Smart (Lexington Catholic), Brian Thornton (Manual), Bob Warren (South Marshall), Derrick Wilcox (Pleasure Ridge Park).

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