Justice Lughas is shooting for the stars.
Lughas, 16, recently picked up the Home Run Sports Urban High School Athlete of the Week award for his performances for the St. Boniface Centurions basketball team this season. Lughas attends St. Boniface Diocesan High School (282 Dubuc St.).
Under the guidance of coach Xxavier Berra, the five-foot-eight point guard led the Centurions to victory at the annual pre-season tournament for varsity boys at École Edward Schreyer School last December, which earned him MVP honours. At press time, the downtown Winnipeg resident had also helped his team get off to a 3-1 start in league play, averaging 29 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
"He’s one of those kids with a positive attitude and upbeat personality. He’s always got a smile on his face," said Brad Scott, the school’s athletic director, who described Lughas as an outstanding student and athlete. "On the court, he’s all business. He’s a hard worker and a really great young man."
Despite his propensity for winning points on the court, Scott highlighted the teen’s versatility when he noted Lughas is "probably a better defender than a scorer."
"In terms of his studies, he also wants to do well and strives to do his best. Of course, winning isn’t always the most important thing in life. It’s nice to win, naturally, but the most important thing is to try and produce athletes who are role models on and off the court," Scott said.
To those that know Lughas’ family, including the school community, news of the teen’s success on the court may not come as the biggest surprise. His oldest sister, Diana, who graduated in 2010, played basketball for the school, as did his older twin sisters, Tanisha and Tamika, who graduated last year.
However the season turns out, Lughas, a Grade 11 student with an 84% GPA, is happy enjoying life on the court.
"I love the thrill of being on the court and having competition to test my skills as a player. I also enjoy being able to bond with my teammates, who make me a better player and person," Lughas said, noting his friends know him as "the biggest LeBron James fan out there."
"The season has been going great so far and not just because of our winning record. We are clicking defensively as a team, as well as offensively, and I am getting lots of help from my teammates, my coaches, the fans, and most importantly, my family. People always said my sisters were tall, so people always told me to play basketball," he added.
In terms of his game, Lughas said he has worked hard on his defensive skills to provide a foundation for his game.
"I like to pride myself on my defence, because you can’t win games without it. Several coaches have pointed out my defence is better than my offence and that is totally understandable. I think my strengths are my athleticism and my quickness, as I am able to blow by defenders or take contact and finish, so I think these attributes have helped shape the player I am today," Lughas said.
"Coach Berra has supported me all the way through. He’s hard on me, because he expects me to always strive to be better than what I can be."