Justin Ahrens is an elite student-athlete currently attending Versailles High School in Ohio. The 6’5 wing is one of the fastest rising players in the Midwest for the class of 2018, and recently received his first D1 scholarship offer along with a ton of interest from several high major programs. Making the switch to King James Shooting Stars (Simpson) on the AAU circuit this year, Justin is primed to have a breakout summer, as college coaches have already started to fall in love with Justin’s combination of skill, length, and athleticism. While Justin is best known for knocking down perimeter jumpshots and finishing strong at the rim, he’s also an honor-roll student at Versailles that holds down at 3.53 GPA.
I. AAU & SELF ANALYSIS
EM: Congratulations on this past weekend on the AAU circuit, you turned some heads with your ability. Can you tell us about how things are going for King James as a team and for you individually?
Final: King James 82, OH-Nova 65
Justin* Ahrens with 27 points in the big win. Jerome Hunter scores 34 points for Nova
— Zach Fleer (@ZachFleer270) May 1, 2016
2018 Justin Ahrens having himself a game. Shooter to be sure, has about six triples
— Brian Snow (@BSnowScout) April 30, 2016
JA: Thanks, I appreciate it. Things are going really well for us, we’re starting to come together and getting our team chemistry to click. When we come together and play as a team, I feel we can compete with anyone we play. Individually, I’m playing great, especially for who this only being my second year playing on the AAU circuit. I really love how Coach Q and Coach Steve are teaching me and helping me be the best player I can possibly be. I am blessed to be learning from the best.
EM: Can you describe your game for those that are not familiar?
JA: I am an extremely versatile player. I would say the best part of my game is my shooting ability, whether it’s off the catch or the dribble, but I can also bring the ball up the floor and drive to the rim and finish. I can also post up because of my height and length when I get a mismatch. I love to get up and down the floor and play above the rim also, and attack the rim aggressively. Just trying to dunk on my defender if I have to (laughs). I’m a wing/guard type of player that does everything.
EM: How often do you work on your game?
JA: As often as I can. I’m blessed to be able to play this game so I take advantage of it. My usual routine is getting up at 5am before school to lift. Then, after school I get into the gym and work on my shot, ballhandling, and my strength and quickness. I never want anyone to outwork me because that means they are getting better than me, and I do no want that to happen. As my coach always says ‘it’ll show on the court whether you’re putting in the work or not.’ I love the grind! I live for this game!
II. ACADEMICS AND OFF-COURT INTERESTS
EM: Can we talk a bit about your interests as a student, what is your favorite subject?
JA: My favorite subject would have to be Algebra, it is just fun to solve problems I think.
EM: What do you plan to major in when attending college?
JA: I haven’t pinpointed a major yet, but I’m leaning toward business.
EM: What are your interests off the court?
JA: Off the court, I’m a normal kid. I love to hang with my friends and family and do fun stuff. I also like to play 2K with my teammates and friends. That is always a game that will be competitive between us haha.
EM: Shifting a bit to recruiting, congratulations on your first offer from Stony Brook! Can you tell us which other schools have shown interest?
JA: Purdue, Michigan, Ohio State, Dayton, Butler, Iowa, Davidson, Stanford, Wisconsin, Ohio University, Oakland University. I’ve visited Butler, Michigan, Purdue, and Ohio University.
EM: Which schools do you hear from the most?
JA: Butler, Iowa, Oakland University, and Ohio University
EM: We know UM is interested based on your skillset and their system, can you tell us a bit about your relationship with Coach Beilein and UM?
JA: My relationship is good with the coaching staff at UM. I had a good visit there a couple months ago and it was great. I will probably go back again when I can, they said just let them know when I want to come back.
EM: Any visits or team camps lined up in the near future?
JA: No dates set up for certain right now, but Butler wants me to come back this spring and take another visit. When I get some time, I will for sure be setting up some more visits.
EM: What factors are important to you and your family when making your college decision?
JA: I want my family to be able to make as many games as they can, but I also want the college I choose to feel like a family there, and I want to go somewhere where the coaches will coach me hard and help me become the best player I can possibly be. I want to keep developing my game. Distance isn’t a huge factor, I wouldn’t mind being out west or in the south, somewhere warm haha.
IV. PERSONAL GOALS & ADVICE
EM: Any personal goals on or off the court?
JA: My goals on the court are to keep improving my game and keep working hard in order to prepare myself for the next level. My lifelong goal has always been to play in the NBA, so I’m just going to keep working towards making my dream come true. Whether I make the NBA or not, I just want to be the best I can be at what I do and encourage others to be the same way. Off the court I have a 3.53 GPA and I want to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5
EM: Last, if you could give the youth some advice on how to succeed either on or off the court, what would you say?
JA: Don’t be afraid to take chances. That goes for both on and off the court. Also, set a goal that you want to achieve in life and go chase it. Anything is possible. If you are able to play the game of basketball consider yourself EXTREMELY blessed and make the most of it while you can. Take advantage of all the opportunities and blessings you have in life.
Link Below for Hudl Highlights of Justin: