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Winslow does it all for Devils

INDIANAPOLIS - Justise Winslow is ready to do everything - if that's what it takes - to help Duke win a national championship.

INDIANAPOLIS - Justise Winslow is ready to do everything - if that's what it takes - to help Duke win a national championship.

Don't put it past him, either. He's spent the last four NCAA tournament games proving he can.

The 6-foot-6, 225-pound forward scores. He rebounds. He can chase guards along the perimeter or play as an undersize power forward wrestling against bigger players inside.

On a team led by a potential No. 1 overall NBA draft pick in freshman big man Jahlil Okafor, Winslow has been at his irreplaceable best in March - a big reason the Blue Devils are back in the Final Four for the 12th time under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski with a roster of just eight scholarship players.

"I mean, it's March," Winslow said this week. "It's now or never. ... I'm preparing better than ever for the games. I'm just really focused and locked in and really excited to play."

This is a case where the numbers say plenty about Winslow's impact for the Blue Devils (33-4) heading into the national semifinal Saturday against Michigan State, yet not nearly enough about his value.

An every-game starter, Winslow ranks in the top three on the team in nine stat categories on the season with his ability to score, rebound, distribute, and get to the line.

He's been even better in the tournament, both at filling stat sheets and masking holes on a roster thinned by the dismissal of Rasheed Sulaimon in January. Sulaimon was let go for being "unable to consistently live up to" team standards.

Winslow is averaging 14 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.8 blocks, and 1.5 steals. He's also shooting 51 percent from the floor, 58 percent (7 for 12) from the three-point arc, and 82 percent (9 for 11) from the line.

"I've enjoyed watching Winslow grow because for some reason I've seen his growth more," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Thursday. ". . . His tournament run right now has been very, very good."

Winslow's fit-any-lineup skills allowed Krzyzewski to juggle his starting lineup in February a few weeks after Sulaimon's departure, moving Winslow from the wing to power forward over junior Amile Jefferson and starting guard Matt Jones.

That has coincided with some of Duke's best play this season, with Winslow creating matchup problems by stressing defenses with his outside shot along with his ability to snatch down a rebound and start the break.