PIKEVILLE, Ky. – He is the most decorated high school basketball player to emerge from the 15th Region of all-time. Today, he is returning to his native Eastern Kentucky mountains to complete his dazzling athletics career and continue pursuit of his degree.
Elisha Justice, the 2010 Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year, is leaving the University of Louisville and transferring to the University of Pikeville.
“The signing of Elisha will have a tremendous impact not only on our program but also on the community as well,” said Coach Kelly Wells. “He’s just a special young man, as we’ve known for years. It will mean a lot to have him on our roster and our campus. We’re obviously elated to have someone who possesses this kind of talent, but he’s a proven winner and will a great addition to our school and the athletics department as a whole.
“This is a special day for us, for Elisha and his family.”
Pike County had never produced a state basketball champion, but in his final two seasons at Shelby Valley High School, the 5-10, 175-pound guard led the Wildcats to three of them. The Justice-led Cats won the 2009 All “A” Classic, which they then repeated in 2010, and then made a clean sweep of the 2010 nets by winning the Sweet 16 championship.
The state-tournament MVP averaged 20.1 points, 5.9 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 3.9 steals for Coach Jason Booher as a senior as Shelby Valley posted a 32-4 record. He also connected on 43.5 percent of his three-point shots (64-of-147) and 82.3 percent of his free throws (149-of-181).
For his career, the hot-shooting point guard produced school record career totals of 2,086 points, 633 assists and a Kentucky state record 540 steals.
In two seasons at Louisville, Justice scored 94 points while handing out 42 assists and pulling down 39 rebounds. He posted a career-high 12 points on two occasions, including in his Cardinal debut against eventual national finalist Butler on Jan. 16, 2010 in a game in which he also had a career-high six rebounds.
Justice played in four of Louisville’s five tournament games in its surprising run to the NCAA Final Four last season.
He is the son of Joey and Robin Justice of Dorton. He has an older brother, Jonah, who recently completed a great career as a starting offensive lineman at U.Va.-Wise, and a younger sister named Kyndra, a freshman at the University of Kentucky.
Justice will pursue a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in sport management.