Even the best three point shooters in NBA History like Steve Kerr, Steph Curry and Jason Kapono weren’t born with the shooting gene, but had to grind in the gym to perfect their incredible consistency form the parking lot. No pain no gain is a common saying or as was the case for current Telekom Baskets Bonn forward Justin Gorham it was sweat equity as preached by the University of Houston assistant coach Kellen Sampson. If you’re a young talented kid that is going to the University of Houston, then there is a good chance that you will leave having improved your three point shot. Other Houston players like Fabian White Jr or Devin Davis profited under the guidance of Kellen Sampson and it wasn’t any different for Juston Gorham. The Maryland native left Towson after 2 years having only attempted 14 three’s and when he left Houston, he had taken 81 three’s and continues to do so as a professional player in Germany for the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He probably hadn’t even had his first meal on the campus of Houston in 2018 when he had to redshirt and was probably already in the gym beginning to improve his three pointer. ‘I always could shoot, but I played more the 5 at Towson and wasn’t on the perimeter’, remembered Juston Gorham. When he arrived in Houston that all changed. He felt like he was in the gym all day. He would be shooting for 2 hours before a game and 2 hours after a game. He would shoot from 4 spots on the court and have to drain 6/8 shots. ‘Coach Kellen just wouldn’t let me go after practice. I would put in many reps and I never took a day off. If I got tired and my shot was flat, he would tell me to raise my shot and stay off the front rim. Coach always told me that sweat equity was key. The time I put in will affect my shot’, stressed Justin Gorham (201-F-98, college: Houston)
The American who lists ex UConn (NCAA) and current Charlotte (NBA) guard James Bouknight as his toughest cover in the NCAA was born on August 6th, 1998 in Columbia, Maryland. He began his basketball career at Calvert Hall high school. He was a 3 star recruit who then committed to play at Towson University and picked it so he could be close to his dad who had been diagnosed with duodenal cancer. He played at Towson University from 2016-2018 playing a total of 64 NCAA games. In his freshman year he averaged 2,8ppg and 2,8rpg while playing only 10 minutes per game. He made a huge jump in his sophomore year averaging 23 minutes and 9.8ppg, 6.7rpg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 21.4%, FT: 70.9%. He scored in double figures in 14 games including a 28/12 explosion against Northeastern and 21/12 against Delaware and 20/12 against Hofstra. His game was able to grow nicely under head coach Pat Sherry. ‘He embodied Toughness and rebounding in me. He also introduced the value of rebounding. It was really helpful to go to Towson my first years’, stated Justin Gorham Despite his rapid rise in his second year, he decided to leave the school and go to the University Of Houston. He left Towson on a good note and just wanted a change of scenery. The American also wanted to get an opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament something he would earn as a senior.
The forward who lists four Houston teammates as his best of all-time with Dejon Jarreau, Quentin Grimes, Brison Gresham and Marcus Sasser and Zane Martin averaged only 12 minutes per game as a junior averaging 3,0ppg and 2,5rpg, but as a senior made a rapid jump playing 27 minutes per game and averaging 8.4ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 67.4%. He was an instrumental factor in the magical Houston Final 4 run defeating CSU, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Oregon State before losing to Baylor. Especially the big win over Rutgers is one that he will never forget. ‘I remember the game against Rutgers a lot. I remember we were down by 6 points at the half. Coach was really on us for not defending and rebounding the way we should of. We were still down in the second half, but never gave up. We kept chipping away and fighting. One of our freshman made a big tip in to tie the game. We then made big stops down the stretch to pull out the win’, remembered Justin Gorham It was a tough senior season despite the success. With Covid you never knew what to expect and you had to stay locked it. The whole team had Covid at one point during the season. It was during tough times like this where a certain brotherhood developed for Gorham, especially with teammates Grimes and Jarreau. Assistant coach Kellen Sampson was so important for him developing his three, but head coach Kelvin Sampson also was vital in him being ready to be a professional player. ‘He is a Hall Of Fame coach that has NBA experience. He always preached defense and rebounding. He always stressed that we have to be an allstar at our role and always said having the right attitude and effort will help you get success. He pushed us each day’, remembered Justin Gorham
The American who lists Jordan, Lebron, Durant and Chamberlain on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore is playing his rookie season in Germany with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Nothing has been easy for anyone since the outbreak of COVID as he had first experienced it in his junior season at Houston. Not knowing if games would be cancelled or how much of an affect players having covid would affect the success of the team was his biggest challenge. His rookie season has been successful on the court, but off the court being overseas for the first time has been a challenge coupled with COVID, but having seen so much off the court has made him stronger as a man. ‘I’m more aware of the little things that can be taken away. Maybe 5 years ago you wouldn’t of hand sanitizer around, but now you do’, said Justin Gorham His rookie season on the court has been an enjoyable one so far as his teammates have welcomed him with open arms and seeing how all the work the team has done since August come together has been special. His winning genes that he had in the NCAA with Houston has in a way also had an effect on the new winning culture in Bonn. ‘I think that coach’s winning ways in Crailsheim also have helped. I did a lot of the little things on the court at Houston and I brought those habits here which has helped my game and my team’, expressed Justin Gorham A big reason for the success has been new head coach Tuomas Iisalo. The club is currently 12-3 and sitting in first place and have a healthy self-confidence that continues to grow. ‘Our secret is our chemistry. We all get a long and have a great vibe in practice. We all buy in to what coach preaches in practice and do it on the court. We all have a positive mindset and want to win. Coach doesn’t step away from what he preached at Crailsheim. We watch a lot of video from his time there. He continues to find different winning strategies and we follow them’, warned Justin Gorham Two teammates who have been extremely vital in him being able to play his game successfully have been top point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright and veteran Jeremy Morgan. ‘It has been a real pleasure playing with Parker. I was already familiar with him at Arizona. He is always in the paint and if he isn’t scoring when the defense collapses on him, then his great IQ helps him find his teammates. He isn’t one dimensional. Jeremy has been so important for me. He played with coach in the past and he told me what coach like and what he doesn’t like. He also helped me see how I can be successful in his system. He also has told me the little things I need to know and what work in order to be successful in Europe’, stated Justin Gorham
The 2021 NCAA Final Four player who believes that the Coming To American movie should have been left alone is a 201 cm forward that compares his game to his favorite player PJ Tucker a guy who rebounds and can make the three. But his new developed three pointer, rebounding and defense aren’t the only strengths in his game. ‘I feel like my decision making is good. I know when to make the extra pass and I also feel like my physicality is also something that my game profits from’, warned Justin Gorham He doesn’t only shine on the offensive end where he is currently averaging 8,2ppg and 5,1rpg and has scored in double figures in 6 games including 16 points against Bamberg, 15 points against MBC and 14 points against Ludwigsburg, but is also a solid defender. He definitely wants to continue to make strides on the defensive end so he can continue to climb the basketball ladder. ‘I can guard in the post and on the perimeter. But I’m working more on defending the perimeter. I don’t feel like it’s a weakness, but it is simply something I’m not used to. I want to better at not fouling the drive and just keeping my feet consistent’, stressed Justin Gorham He wants to improve his ball handling as well as his shooting something he worked so hard on together with Kellen Sampson and something that he won’t refrain doing. ‘I want my three to become more consistent. And if I’m not taking the three, then I want to have a consistent one dribble pull up. Shot selection is also important. I have to know when I’m open to shoot and if I’m taking a good shot. That will come with experience. If I’m open in the corner then I have to know that I have the green light as well as if I get the extra pass. I have to know the shot I’m taking is a rhythmic shot’, warned Justin Gorham One thing is for sure that sweat equity label that was instilled in his mind from Kellen Sampson is something that won’t ever disappear from him. He just invested way too much time in Houston to ever lose that sweat equity mentality.Tags