After a big July on the AAU circuit, Duane Washington has had an eventful August.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound 2018 point guard recently moved from Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian to Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon and has seen his recruitment take off.
Washington will be living in Southern California with his uncle, former five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher.
“It’s a great opportunity to live with my uncle,” Washington said. “He had a really good experience playing in Los Angeles in the NBA. When that opportunity came up it was something I couldn’t pass up.
“My cousins go to Sierra Canyon so it’s a school around where I’m now living. It was just a no-brainer to go there not just athletically and academically. Everything was good back home but everything just lined up perfectly.”
In the spring, Washington played off the ball for The Family on the Nike EYBL circuit, with Michigan point guard commit David DeJulius on the ball. While Washington showed that he can really shoot it, everything changed for him when DeJulius left the team and he was able to play on the ball.
“During the summer it was a little different than the spring,” said Washington. “David DeJulius was on our team in the spring so I played off the ball at that time. It was great showing I’m not just a primary ball handler. A lot of people didn’t know I was more than a scorer.
“During July I played on the ball and that’s my natural position. Being 6-3 and having a pretty good frame it’s not bad playing the two, but I can play both, which is really intriguing to the schools recruiting me.
“Obviously I can shoot but people were really surprised how well I can pass and how athletic I am as well. The jump I made in one month was really big and I was ready for the moment.”
Washington holds offers from schools such as Ohio State, Michigan, Purdue and Nebraska, with UCLA recently jumping in the mix.
While Washington hasn’t cut his list and is still open, he broke down the aforementioned programs.
Ohio State: “They’ve been recruiting me for a long time. Coach (Chris) Holtmann was at Butler and they had a great season. His success as a head coach is really intriguing. It’s a great organization and school, great facilities and great town. It’s a nationally known place. DeAngelo Russell just came out of there. We’re just starting to build the relationship even more.”
Michigan: “It’s a great school and John Beilein is a great coach. Ever since he first watched me in the eighth grade, he said he saw me get better over time in small increments consistently. He said that’s what he likes; he doesn’t like sporadic improvement. It’s a really good school with a great fan base. I have a great relationship with the assistants as well; they were both recruiting m before they got to Michigan.”
Purdue: “It’s a great school and I was there on an unofficial visit recently. I like the coaching staff and I have really good relationship with coach (Matt) Painter. He’s very upfront and is always honest with me, which is really important to me. My teammate Trevion (Williams) is committed there so it would be really cool to play with him. They came to a lot of our games because he was there so they’ve seen me a lot. They’ve done a good job recruiting me.”
Nebraska: “I’ve heard a lot of great things about their facilities. I’ve seen pictures and I was in shock. Big Ten is a good conference and Nebraska is on their way up. I have a good relationship with their head coach and assistants. I’ve had the opportunity to go back and forth with them and things are starting to pick up.”
UCLA: “They saw me in Fort Wayne (Ind.) when they were watching Keion Brooks, who I’m really cool with, and we played right after them. The assistant stuck around and was really impressed. This was before I was officially moving. They don’t recruit over there a ton but have been on Keion and once they found out I was moving to Los Angeles, they were really excited. I’ve gone back and forth with their assistant at least four or five times a day and I’ve talked to coach (Steve) Alford a few times.”
Washington says that he doesn’t have any official visits set up, but that’s likely the next step in his recruitment.
“I’m trying to get through August, want to narrow down schools and then I’ll take visits,” he said. “As of now I’m still open and taking things in. We’ve cut some schools from the process, schools that I know 100% I won’t attend.
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“We’re going to try to get through August, trim the list to schools I’m serious about attending. I want to make a decision in November prior to Signing Day.”