SINCE DONNING HER BLACK AND GOLD JERSEY, HASTINGS’ MELINDA WINSTON HAS BEEN AN INDISPUTABLE GAME-CHANGER.
It might not come as a surprise, but this senior Bear has been a baller since day one.
“I would follow my older brother (Gabriel) into the gym, and he would always play with his friends,” said Winston. “I always wanted to be like him, so one day I went to the YMCA and I saw this boy dribbling the ball under his legs and I thought, ‘I want to learn how to do that’.
“So my Mom told me I could play at Fort Bend, but they made rules that said you can’t steal or block. That was too easy. I started AAU and the rest is history.”
It seems that her career has been a highlight reel, given that she’s led the team in scoring each season – most recently averaging over 17 points per game in 2022.
But according to her, scoring isn’t even her greatest asset.
“I’d say one of my biggest strengths on the court would be my ability to pick apart defenses,” she said. “You know, using Euro-steps, crossovers, watching their body language – I like pulling moves out of my bag, and seeing the look on the coaches’ face when I score. You can’t pay for that, it’s priceless.”
Winston’s palpable charisma makes it easy to see how she’s become a fan-favorite. She’s a great teammate, getting others around her involved.
“Everyone gravitates towards the scorer,” Winston said. “Even though I’m not a point guard, I’ve always been drawn towards that position because their job is to find their teammate’s favorites spots as well as their own. So, going through high school, my assists have gone up for that exact reason. It’s cool to see those windows and give your teammates some love.”
Players like this don’t come around often. So, what’s been the secret ingredient that has made Winston into the person she is?
“My biggest inspiration is easily my parents,” said Winston. “My Mom – who I’m named after – is majestic and carries herself with such grace and poise. She’s taught me to be humble and sensible with others.
“My Dad (Dennis Winston) was a professional football player. He’s in the Hall of Fame at the University of Arkansas and played with the Steelers and Saints, so there’s plenty to look up to. But, sometimes I’ll be having a bad day and he’ll send me inspirational quotes and give me advice. He’s always been there for me.”
While she has unfinished business at Hastings, Winston is more than prepared for the next level, where she will play at Georgia Southern.