A successful college basketball career recently came to a close for Peebles High School graduate Blake Justice, who ended with a flourish as a member of the Valdosta State Blazers. In his final season at VSU, Justice was the team’s leading scorer at 15.8 points per game as the Blazers went 17-11. Justice also fired in a team-high 68 three-pointers and averaged 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest, with a season-high of 27 points in a Nov. 28 game with Coastal Georgia, being named to the Gulf South Conference All-Conference First Team in his final season.
Just as impressive, Justice became just the 22nd player in Valdosta State history to eclipse the 1,000 point plateau, a feat he accomplished in less than three full seasons at the university.
“Of course as a player you’re never satisfied with your performance,” said Justice. “There’s always those moments where you ask yourself what else you could have done. We had several close games this year that went right down to the wire. it’s heartbreaking when you can look at your losses and see that we had the lead in every one of them. It’s hard to stomach at times.”
Justice’s college career got off to a somewhat rocky start as he spent two years at Division I Akron, which were plagued by injuries, leading to his decision to transfer to Valdosta State.
“Akron was a good program with good players which allowed me a solid transition into the college game,” explained Justice. “We had a ton of success while I was there even though injuries played a factor, I was able to learn a lot about the college game as well as develop individual skills. So when I transferred to VSU, I had an understanding of how I wanted to approach my season and career there.”
“At VSU, I was a part of several up and down moments. I’ve been lucky enough to be put in situations where I’ve hit multiple game-tying or game-winning shots, which is an unbelievable feeling. I’ve also been on the other end of those moments when games went the other way. My time at VSU allowed me to play against and with high level players which will help move my career to the next step.”
What might that next step be in his career? Right now Justice is mulling over the options of possibly playing basketball overseas.
“I’m looking to pursue that dream of playing overseas. Playing professionally somewhere is something I’d love to do.”
Justice also has other options after receiving a degree in Business Finance and then another in Accounting, while throwing in a minor in Coaching.
“After basketball, I will look to enter the business world with maybe some interest in the stock market and the financial side of things,” Justice told The Defender. “However, that’s only if I can get away from the game of basketball, Coaching just might be my route.”
Local hoops fans, especially those in Peebles, know the legacy of the Justice name in the annals of Indian basketball, and Blake is very aware of the role that his family has played in his success.
“My family has been everything to me. It’s one of those things where you look back on accomplishments or moments in your career that are unforgettable and realize it’s not the moment of making the 1,000th point or breaking some record that you will remember. It’s that look on your family’s face that you never forget. That’s what you live for or play for in my case. Growing up I heard lots of stories about the ‘Justice twins’ in the Peebles area. What people tend to forget is that I also heard about my Mom as a player too. My parents have been an unbelievable support system for me and my younger siblings are amazing. They’ve traveled all over the place and been my biggest fans.”
“Like I said, to be able to look into the stands no matter how far from home and you hear your sister and family cheering you on- it’s the best feeling in the world.”