Love and basketball: Camron and Kaylee Justice juggle marriage and hoops

Wyatt Sparkman, Sports reporter

Camron Justice and Kaylee Justice got married on November 13, 2021. The next day, Kaylee drove Camron for more than three hours so he could play his first basketball game for WKU in over a year. 

Camron transferred to WKU in 2019 for his graduate season. He started 18-of-30 games for the Hilltoppers, averaging 10.1 points per game until his final year was cut short due to COVID-19. He began working as a graduate assistant for WKU Athletics in basketball academics in July of 2021.

In mid November, his focus switched from helping off the court to contributing as a player on the hardwood. The Hilltoppers called on Justice to help out the program in the early goings of the 2021-22 season.

“It was good to be back in an atmosphere and environment and culture that I understood,” Camron said. “I tell a lot of people I took what I learned doing the academic side of things becoming a player. There [were] things that I took from the court to the academic side, but there’s also things I took from an academic side to the court, like communicating with guys who were on a different level than me.” 

Camron said it was “a long, stressful process” waiting to hear the news about his eligibility. He waited for months before he was ruled eligible to play four days before his wedding.

“The team left on Wednesday and about probably three hours into their bus trip they found out I [was] ruled eligible,” Camron said. “So then everybody was calling me, blowing me up. What was funny was, I was actually in the middle of a workout, I get out, and I had like 20 missed calls, 30 messages from everybody just telling me to call them.” 

Camron’s first game back for the red and white was against South Carolina. The game didn’t go as expected. He shot just 1-for-6. He bounced back in his second game against No. 11 Memphis, shooting 7-for-13 while scoring a team-high 18 points. 

“The South Carolina game, I can attest that I was pretty wore out,” Camron said. “Obviously I wasn’t myself or anything like that. I was just trying to get back into the flow… I was just kind of trying to help them with minutes and be a guy that was just going to be constant. I kind of got my legs back underneath me. Then going into Memphis, I knew we were going to go into a pretty lively atmosphere and everything like that, and they were a pretty good team. So I knew I had to be that veteran and leader that had already played those types of games.” 

WKU redshirt senior guard Luke Frampton said “having [Camron] out there is like having another coach.”

“He’s really experienced,” Frampton said. “He’s played at a high level for a very long time. He just makes it a lot easier with him being out there.” 

Kaylee wanted him to play – it could be really special since his collegiate career initially ended due to COVID-19. The timing of his eligibility made things a bit stressful. 

“So the game after [the wedding], I honestly think I was more nervous for that game than I was for our wedding,” Kaylee said. “It had been a long time since he had played a basketball game. I was just nervous. Obviously, I wanted him to play well. I knew he had had a very emotional weekend just because there was a lot going on.” 

“I just really wanted him to play well, and I think that was why I was so stressed out,” Kaylee continued. “That whole week, we were trying to recoup from driving and all that stuff. Then Friday, when he goes to Memphis, he had a great game. It was so good to see all the stress that we had [paid] off and to see him back in his element again.” 

How they met 

Camron and Kaylee’s romance started by a chance encounter at a hibachi restaurant in Pikeville, Kentucky. Kaylee was a cheerleader at the University of Tennessee while Camron was playing basketball for IUPUI at the time.   

“I stopped in to get some sushi, and he came in to eat I guess,” Kaylee said. “I was in there waiting around, and he walked up behind me and came in, and he was like ‘Justice for two.’ I was like ‘well that’s weird, because that’s my last name’. This isn’t a big town. I know everyone here. So he kind of walked around, lurked around, and he didn’t say anything. So I was like, okay, whatever, I’m gonna leave.” 

“So I got my food, and I left,” Kaylee continued. “I got in the car, and I was with my mom. I told her ‘Mom, there was this really cute guy in there, like he smelled so good.’ I guess I would not stop talking about him on my way home.” 

Kaylee’s mom happened to have gone to high school with the hostess at the hibachi restaurant. 

WKU graduate senior guard Camron Justice tries a 3-pointer in the corner during WKU’s 15-point comeback in the last four minutes of the game. Justice shot 4 for 8 from deep for 14 points, as the Hilltoppers defeated the Bulldogs 95-91 in OT in Diddle Arena on Feb. 27, 2019. (WKU Athletics )

“She was like, ‘do you want me to call her?’” Kaylee said. “I was like, ‘yeah, just call her,’ but it was just something so out of the ordinary, not something I would do. She called the restaurant back, and [the hostess] went over to him and asked if he was interested in the blonde that was in there. He said yes. Then we exchanged numbers and kind of went from there.” 

The couple spent the first two years of their relationship doing long-distance. They lived five hours apart and both were college athletes. 

“I had practice. He had practice. I had appearances that I had to do, community service, stuff like that,” Kaylee said. “So really, throughout the day, we didn’t have time to communicate a lot, like text here or there, but that’s not really enough to build a relationship on.” 

The pair set aside time to FaceTime each other every single night. 

“We would FaceTime and talk for several hours,” Kaylee said. “…Even if it was through a phone, I would say doing that built a lot of our relationship and communication.” 

Camron said both being athletes bonded them together because they knew what the other was going through. He said it never complicated anything. Kaylee said they have always had a “pretty smooth relationship.” 

“He’s a college athlete, I’m a college athlete,” Kaylee said. “There’s a ton of things that could pop up, but really, putting each other first and trusting each other and knowing that we both love each other and we want to end up together one day, I think that was a huge part of it.” 

The proposal and move to Bowling Green 

Kaylee graduated from Tennessee in 2019, the same year Camron transferred to the Hill as a graduate student. Kaylee followed Camron to Bowling Green and they started living together. Kaylee said the transition wasn’t an issue, because they were excited to spend time with each other. 

“Once we moved in together, it was like wow, this is exciting,” Kaylee said. “We actually got to build our relationship more and got to grow closer together and become more like best friends.” 

After being together for three years and living together for almost a year, Kaylee was expecting a proposal in the summer of 2020. However, nothing happened until her birthday. 

“I did not expect it at all,” Kaylee said. “We went to a nice restaurant in Lexington, ate dinner, left, and we went to this little park. He was like, ‘I want to get a picture’. I was like, ‘okay, that’s very unlike him.’ He set his phone on something, and I was like, ‘Oh, wow, he’s really wanting a good picture.’ He ended up videoing it, and he came over, and he started hugging on me and stuff. Then as soon as he did that, I was like, ‘oh, it’s goin down’.”

Setting the date 

The couple set their wedding date before Camron started thinking about playing basketball again. 

“That date was set, probably a year prior to me even thinking I was going to be back here at Western,” Camron said. “That’s kind of how that date came about. Especially with COVID, there were so many COVID restrictions going on the summer before and everything like that. So we tried to set a date back far enough to where we thought we could get away from all the COVID restrictions and everything like that. The planning process, my hat goes off to my wife.” 

Kaylee said she always dreamt of being a wedding planner and wanted to do everything herself. 

Kate Phelps Photography

“It was very stressful talking to vendors and communicating because typically you have someone else that would do that for you,” Kaylee said. “I’ve never been in a wedding before, so this was my first wedding planning, being a part of and all of that. It was a bit stressful, but it really ended up paying off for me in the end, because the wedding was exactly what I dreamed of. I wanted it to be simple and elegant, and it was. It was beautiful.” 

Camron said when he found out he had a shot to play basketball again he had to make a choice. 

“If I could have been in two places at one time, I wish I could have done that,” Camron said. “That weekend was about her and us. It was more important to me to be with her than it was the team. I don’t say that in a derogatory way. I’m just saying that’s a once in a lifetime experience.” 

Camron said the weekend was tiring, but he thanked Kaylee for sacrificing a lot to make the weekend possible.

“Being able to get married to the love of my life and everything like that… it was such a surreal moment,” Camron said. 

Camron and the rest of his Hilltopper family will be back at E.A. Diddle Arena to play the Buffalo Bulls at 7 p.m. CT Wednesday night.

Football reporter Wyatt Sparkman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @wyattsparkman3.