« Men’s Basketball 2019-20

Justin Kier

School

George Mason University

Position
Guard
Major
Sport Management

Classroom

Justin is a sports management major and has stepped outside of his comfort zone to develop a broader knowledge of the industry. For his internship requirement, Kier worked this summer for TITLE Boxing Club in Fairfax, Virginia. He learned operations, sales and customer service skills while networking and developing relationships with clients and employees at the gym. He also served as “Boss for a Day” to build managerial and supervisory skills.

Kier’s engaging personality translates to the classroom, where he is an active participant in his courses.

“He’s a thoughtful contributor to class discussions,” sport management professor Robert Baker said. “He has well-developed interpersonal and leadership skills, whether on the court, in the classroom, and beyond. He’s actively preparing for success after he’s done playing basketball.”

In addition to his internship with TITLE, Kier also has worked as a facilitator for the athletic summer camps held at George Mason each summer as part of his major curriculum.

Character

Kier’s engaging, selfless personality and innate ability to connect with people is remarkable given the adversity he has faced. When he was 7-years-old, while in the car alongside her, Kier’s mother suffered a heart attack. Now, close to 15 years later, she is still in a coma and can hear but not speak and is paralyzed from the neck down. As a result, Kier spend much of his childhood in rural Virginia acting as a care taker for his mother. He lives with his grandmother, Evelyn, brother Rasheed, and mother, Keley, who resides in a hospital bed in the family home.

Justin is grateful for all who made sacrifices for his benefit. Rasheed, understanding Justin’s talents, would often miss basketball practice so he could watch their mother so Justin could attend the practice. In addition, the Grottoes, Va., community supported the family whenever they could.

“Justin is first-class,” says high school coach Chad Edwards. “The support system was important to him and his family, and he’s appreciative. He has said thank you to everyone.”

“They let me know I am not getting to college without my grades,” Justin said of his Grottoes support system. “I don’t know where I would be without them.”

“Given what he has gone through,” Mason coach Dave Paulsen told the Washington Post in 2017, “he has the ability to maybe take a wider view and a more balanced perspective than you and me, let alone the other 18- and 19-year-old kids.”

Community

Kier has developed into a leader within the Northern Virginia community. His ability to connect with others often leads to him serving as the primary team ambassador on trips to the iNova Fairfax Children’s Hospital oncology floor, elementary school reading programs and homeless shelter fellowship visits. What’s more, Kier is a fan favorite and takes time to visit with younger fans and take them under his wing whenever he can. Just this past week, a mother on Facebook wrote a lengthy post thanking Justin for the impact he’s had on her son’s life.

As a team ambassador, he is always the first to volunteer to speak to the media or sign fan autographs after a tough loss. He understands his high-profile role as a leader in the community and does not take it lightly.

Justin also has developed lifetime bonds within his native Grottoes community. There is a bus trip to George Mason each season for a game to watch Justin, and when Mason played at James Madison during his sophomore season (just minutes from Grottoes), hundreds were in attendance to watch him play.

Justin’s grandmother says a village helped raise Justin, and he is still a vital part of that village as an adult.

Competition

Kier has started 93 of 99 games in his George Mason career and has developed from role player as a freshman to star as a rising senior. Much like his character and personality, Kier’s game is well rounded. As a junior, he was one of just seven players nationally to average 14+ points, 6.5+ rebounds, 2.5+ assists and 1.5+ steals per contest.

As a testament to the work he put in between his sophomore and junior seasons and throughout 2018-19, Kier was named the Atlantic 10’s Most Improved Player in 2019. He also garnered All-A-10 Second Team accolades as a junior and was a member of the NABC All-District Team. Kier has a knack for stepping up when it matters most. In two games during the 2019 A-10 Tournament, he averaged an impressive 23.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and shot 54.8 percent from the floor.

Once Justin returns from a stress fracture injured suffered early in the season, he will be called upon to lead the Patriots in a highly-competitive A-10 in 2019-20. A preseason All-A-10 selection, he is certainly up to the challenge.

He has stepped up as the team’s 2019-20 leader and is a secondary coach in practice, huddling the team up and providing criticism or encouragement if he senses the sets are not going well. Even with his injury, Kier has been the most vocal member of the Mason sideline and offers advice and encouragement to the entire roster and particularly the young players.