2011 Big Man gets a look from Beilein

Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard's Darren Washington had Michigan's John Beilein at his workout on Friday.

2011 Ann Arbor (MI) Gabriel Richard PF/C Darren Washington is beginning to grab quite a bit of interest from college coaches. Cleveland State and Central Michigan are his only offers at this point, but a number of others are showing interest, including Michigan, Indiana, Wake Forest, Georgetown, Clemson, Harvard, Princeton, Duquesne, and Bowling Green.

The junior big man had has talents on full display in front of Coach John Beilein last Friday, and GoBlueWolverine was in attendance. The 'up-and-comer' had the left hook and right hook going -- a drop step on the left block with an up and under, and the same on the right block.

Darren also displayed his outside shot from the three point line. I counted 5-10 from behind the arc. He also has an ability to shoot from 15 feet and in with a nice touch. All of this improvement has come with the help of a few mentors: Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard's Head Coach Pete Schoch and Assistant Don Spencer, as well as former Michigan Wolverine Terry Mills.

Les Washington, Darren's dad, has careful selected these three to help mentor his son athletically, academically, socially.

"I selected Gabriel Richard because it is one of the top 50 academic Catholic schools in the nation," Mr. Washington told GBW. "I really enjoy the atmosphere for my son as a student-athlete. I then talked with Pete and Don -- they were straight shooters with me about how my son was going to develop as a person as well as a student-first.

"I appreciated the fact that academics was always first, as it is with me, so that worked out well. And with basketball they have really helped bring him along. With Terry Mills: his experiences in basketball was a plus but he talks with Darren about academics and life just the way I would. He has been very instrumental in my son's overall development. Those three have really been on the same page with me as far as my son continuing his maturation process."

At Richard, Darren is widening his progress on the floor. He is 6'10 and 225 and has a motor that keeps running when he is on the court. He can post you up, step out and hit the jumper; Darren blocks shots, rebounds very well and is a very good defender.

Assistant Coach Don Spencer observes how well Darren is coming along and how he (Spencer) enjoys his improvements in his game.

"I think that where he was and where he is now is different ... you have to have a game plan to play against him. You can't just let him catch it now because he will go to work on you. He needs to improve on being more explosive, and on where he is on the floor when he catches in relation to where he wants to go. Darren has a lot of upside. A positive is his work ethic he just keeps working at something over and over again -- that guarantees me that he will get better with time."

As Darren continues to improve, more and more colleges will be coming around to see what he is all about. For his father Les and Darren's mentors -- they hope schools will be looking for a well-rounded student-athlete and not just an athlete.

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