After starting as a freshman at Culver City for Reggie Morris (now at Fairfax/Los Angeles) and spending his soph season at Santa Monica, 6-3 2021 Tsalta (TJ) Wainwright has taken his sharp-shooting skills to LA-City CIF juggernaut Westchester (Los Angeles CA). Well known as a high-octane scorer, this lefty combo-guard will benefit from the tutelage of long-time Comet coach Ed Azzam, a well-respected defensive tactician who has won 908 career games and has coached future NBA players like Trevor Ariza, Hassan Adams and Bobby Brown.
Wainwright is currently the leading scorer (14.0 ppg) for a well-balanced and gritty Westchester squad that has reached the quarter-finals of the Tarkanian Classic and semi-finals of the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic, losing both times to Fab 50 #31 Sheldon (Sacramento CA). TJ was named all-tourney at both tourneys. TJ’s clutch shooting was evident at Torrey Pines where he buried a game-winning deep 3-pointer as time expired to knock off NorCal power Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland CA) in the quarter-finals 50-47 and calmly sank another 3-point dagger to force OT against Desert Vista (Phoenix AZ) in the 3rd Place Game. Wainwright had a team high 20 points in that narrow 70-68 2OT loss.
Known for his long-distance 3-point bombs, TJ is quickly evolving into a complete lead guard with his court vision, passing (4.0 ppg) and decision-making all greatly improved. As his physical strength keeps improving, Wainwright will develop into even more of an offensive weapon. Reminds me a lot of a taller version of San Diego State guard Malachi Flynn.
TJ had an impressive 2019 grassroots season playing for Belmont Shore last year. 2019 Pangos All-American Camp invitee averaged 15.5 ppg at the camp (selected to Top 60 game/11 points). Wainwright was also all-tourney at the Terrific 24 in Marietta GA in April, Pangos Premier 80 Showcase invitee in July, all-tourney at the inaugural Fantastic 40 in Las Vegas in August and invitee to John Lucas Elite Invitational last September. After scoring a game-high 24 points in last September’s Pangos Best of SoCal Showcase Top 20 Junior Game, TJ also laced them up in the Top 20 Senior Game where he scored an event-high 41 points.
Wainwright currently checks in at the #99 spot in Van Coleman’s Nothing But Net Magazine’s Class of 2021 national rankings.
Wainwright has early offers from UC-Santa Barbara and Pepperdine and has unofficially visited Gonzaga and LSU with another unofficial in the planning to Vanderbilt this winter. Washington State, San Diego State, Loyola-Chicago, Princeton, Montana and San Diego are among the growing number of schools showing interest.
Cousin is NFL wide-receiver Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints who just set a league record for receptions in a NFL season (149 catches).