All in the family

Bianca Winslow followed in her father's footsteps by playing basketball at UH. |  Courtesy of Rickie Winslow

Bianca Winslow followed in her father’s footsteps by playing basketball at UH. | Courtesy of Rickie Winslow

Tradition has served Cougar athletics for a number of years. For two former greats, this tradition has become a family one.

Freshman guard Bianca Winslow has always dreamed of dribbling down the court wearing Cougar Red, the same way her father Rickie Winslow did.

“Ever since I was young, I’ve always wanted to play for the Cougars,” Bianca said.

Rickie was a 4-year starter for the Cougars’ Phi Slamma Jamma team— a nickname for the basketball team’s dunks, explosiveness and fast-breaking style of play in the mid 1980s. With a career average of 12.5 points per game, Rickie was a small forward who played in the 1984 National Championship game against Georgetown.

Rickie — the 28th overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 1987 NBA draft — is the head coach of Saint John’s High School junior varsity basketball team, the same school his son Justise attends.

Justise, a 6-foot-6-inch forward, is a college prospect and has offers from numerous schools, including Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, UCLA, Kansas, Arizona, Florida and UH.

Aside from coaching, Rickie said he loves traveling back to Hofheinz Pavilion, where he can see his daughter play, visiting his alma mater and remembering the good old days when he used to suit up in the same arena.

“I think it’s very special to see her carry on the tradition in the Winslow family,” Rickie said. “The place definitely brings back the memories and the relationships I developed with so many good people.”

Averaging over 10 points per game as a Bellaire Cardinal, Bianca decided to stay close to home with her family and follow in her dad’s footsteps. With her dad ranked top 10 in scoring for the Cougars, Bianca looks to take advantage of his offensive tips and moves and implement them into her game.

“It’ll probably be his step-back jumper,” Bianca said. “But one thing I’m trying to improve on as much as possible is defense.”

Director of Basketball Operations Michael Young also has great memories on the court with Rickie, his former teammate.

As a freshman, Young was a starting forward and helped lead the Cougars to the 1981 NCAA Tournament. A year later, the Cougars advanced to the NCAA Final Four for the first time in 14 years. He also made trips to the 1983 and 1984 national championship games, accompanied by Rickie and other Cougar greats, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon. Young was the 24th overall pick in the 1984 draft by the Boston Celtics. He also played overseas from 1989-1996.

Rickie Winslow averaged 12.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game during his tenure at UH. |  1986 Houstonian

Rickie Winslow averaged 12.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game during his tenure at UH. | 1986 Houstonian

Young, like Rickie, has children who are a part of the athletics program.

Young’s daughter, Mayorca, is a freshman sprinter for the women’s track team, and his son Joseph is a redshirt sophomore guard for the men’s basketball team. Michael said Joseph has known basketball is what he wanted to do for a long time.

“He’s been dribbling that ball ever since he was 5 years old,” Michael said. “I taught him the basic moves of dribbling and shooting, and when he got into his own, he just took off.”

Women’s basketball head coach Todd Buchanan spoke about how special and great it is to coach a former great player’s daughter.

“As great of a player Rickie was here, a lot of people don’t understand her mom (Robin) is also an alumna. In doing so, having the connection is a part of one of the reasons why we recruited her,” Buchanan said. “We try to keep it in the family. Anytime you can keep Cougars home, make Cougars’ kids Cougars, I think that is a win in every way.”

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