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October 7, 2002

Wesley Washington Visits the Gophers

Another Opinion - Jeremy Tiers
Wesley Washington, a 6-2, 170 lbs. 2G who attends Mater Dei H.S. in Santa Ana, CA, averaged 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists per game as a junior while shooting over 50% from the field and 85% from the free-throw line. He was the Player of the Year in Orange County and in CIF-Southern Section Division I. The Monarchs of Mater Dei H.S. finished with a record of 29-5 last season.

The versatile Washington possesses excellent athleticism and is most effective when driving to the basket and finishing at the rim. His perimeter jump shot is average, but he has made a concerted effort to improve that part of his offensive game. Wesley told us this summer that his main goal for the upcoming season is to improve his outside shot. "I'm putting up lots of shots and working on it all the time," he told us at the adidas Big Time Tournament.

Washington is also a very good rebounder for his size and has shown the ability to bring the ball up the floor. Prior to making his original commitment to Cal, Wesley was being recruited by some high major programs as a combo-guard and by others as an off guard.

Wesley is considered one of the Top 100+ prospects in the country by many of the well-known national recruiting services. He has a 711" reach and a 61" wingspan.

Jeremy Tiers, a contributing editor to GopherHole.com, is a national college basketball recruiting analyst for Bob Gibbons All Star Sports Publications (www.bobgibbons.net). He also coaches at the high school level in Minnesota. Jeremy can be reached at allstarreport@hotmail.com.

If the Gopher Basketball team is fortunate enough to get a commitment from 6'3" shooting guard Wesley Washington, it won't be because of Mother Nature. From the time he arrived on campus Saturday until he left today, the Twin Cities were hammered with approximately 8 feet (ok, maybe not quite) of rain and temperatures 20 degrees below normal. That's not what you hope to see when you bring in a player from California. Hopefully fellow CA native and future Gopher Kerry Woolridge briefed him on the 90-degree weather we had a few weeks ago when he was on campus.

Beyond the miserable weather though, all reports are that Wesley's visit went very well. He and his mother got to see some of the local sights and spent a lot of time getting to know the Gopher coaches and players. Wesley also got a chance to meet a couple of potential future Gopher teammates in Spencer Tollackson and Miles Webb when he scrimmaged with the team and a number of Minnesota high school players Sunday at the Sports Pavilion.

Wesley is a very quick and athletic player who has a lot of ability to penetrate and get to the basket. His outside shot is coming along, as the several 3-poiners he made on Sunday made obvious to everybody in attendance. And most importantly, Wesley is a competitor and is capable of stepping up his game when it matters most.

He made that abundantly clear last February when his high school team took on #1 ranked Oak Hill Academy of Virginia. Oak Hill was riding something like a 52-game winning streak, but Wesley made sure that came to an end by putting up 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. For a junior to have a game like that against a team that had 7 seniors sign Division 1 scholarships last year is extremely impressive. Not to mention the fact that at least a couple of them figure to be playing in the NBA in the not too distant future.

Coach Monson and staff definitely hope to have that talent wearing Maroon & Gold in The Barn next season. Perhaps it was more than a coincidence that Wesley wore maroon shorts during this weekend's scrimmage? Maybe, maybe not.

There's still a likely trip to Oklahoma State in the coming weeks, and it's possible that some other big names will get involved, but it appears the Gophers have a legitimate chance of landing possibly the highest-ranked non-Minnesota recruit they've had in several years (along with Aliou Kane).

Talk about Wesley Washington on the Gopher Basketball message board and/or the Premium message board.

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