Justice Sueing is a freshman on the University of California men’s basketball team. One-third of the way through Pac-12 Conference play, it was clear he had emerged as the team’s best player.
He was averaging 13.9 points and 5.9 rebounds as of Jan. 20, but in the first six conference games his numbers had ballooned to 19.2 points and 7.8 rebounds. His scoring average in Pac-12 games was second-highest among conference freshmen.
“I’ve been a lot more comfortable throughout the season, and my teammates do a great job of putting me in positions to score,” Sueing told the Daily Californian student newspaper. “They’re always there telling me to be aggressive.”
Sueing was born in Honolulu, where his father, Justice Sueing Sr. was a star player at the University of Hawaii from 1994-96 and still ranks second in program history in career field-goal percentage.
The Sueings lived in Arizona for a while and Sueing spent his freshman year at Westview High School in Avondale, Ariz. before moving back to Hawaii. Sueing played his sophomore season at Maryknoll School in Honolulu before heading to Southern California.
Sueing didn’t attempt to stand out once he transferred to Mater Dei.
He joined a team that already had a Pac-12 bound senior in M.J. Cage, currently a redshirt freshman at Oregon, and a high-profile sophomore point guard in Spencer Freedman, who was also transferring in from Santa Monica High.
Sueing finished third on the team in scoring (10.1) behind Cage and Freedman.
Last season at Mater Dei, he seemed ready to steal more of the spotlight, but then 7-foot-1 junior center Bol Bol transferred to Mater Dei from Kansas, and suddenly Bol was getting all the attention.
Sueing had scholarship offers from Hawaii, Montana, San Francisco, Vanderbilt, and Utah, but when California made an offer in January of his senior year, it took just a couple weeks to decide that school was the place for him.
He joined a team that had a new head coach, two new assistants and just one returning starter.
Sueing came off the bench in his first game against UC Riverside., missed his first shot but scored his second off an offensive rebound. He finished second on the team with 14 points in the 74-66 loss.
Sueing moved into the starting lineup in the second game and hasn’t given up his spot since. He faced his first major opponent in his fourth game and scored 20 points against Wichita State, which has been ranked in the top 10 in the nation all season.
When conference play rolled around in late December, Sueing picked up the pace again and scored 18 points in a 77-74 win against Stanford.
The highlight of his first six Pac-12 games came on Jan. 11 against Washington, coached by another former Mater Dei standout, Mike Hopkins. Sueing made 11 of 16 shots and scored a season-high 27 points with eight rebounds.
The only downside for Sueing was his team lost that game and dropped five in a row overall as of Jan. 20.
“If we don’t come out with the win, it doesn’t matter what I did personally,” Sueing told the San Francisco Chronicle.
A team-first player, indeed.