Isaiah Washington scored 12 of 23 field goal attempts, hit 10 of 14 foul shots, and knocked out a couple treys for his 36 plus recorded a pair of steals and assists. No Washington didn’t start the game but when it was finished he had made his mark.
Washington checked in for Jalek Felton after the television timeout and while the viewers at home were getting treated to the venue highlights (the Hudson River, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, outdoor court) Washington was locked in ready to catch the baseline in-bounds pass so he could attack Nic Alexander-Walker.
Isaiah is a local favorite and when the MC of the event introduced Isaiah as part of the “Jelly Crew” Washington caught the ball, the fans went wild, Washington showed off his rapid deep to the floor handles, and used a crossover hesitation combination to get deep in the lane. The recently measured 6-foot-1, 175 pound guard with a 6-foot-5 wingspan missed the attempt but his aggressive attack was an initial taste of things to come.
The second possession Washington was matched up against Javonte Smart and again the crowd stood up waiting for the local product to produce in highlight reel fashion. Washington dribble separated and missed a step back jumper. His third clear out with the ball Washington turned it over on a bad pass. Same with the fourth playmaking possession. How about his fifth touch? A seven crossover step back into a three point miss.
Was the initial selection process that skipped over Isaiah going to start weighing on his brain after three misses and two turnovers? It did, but in the way of building motivation to show he belonged. Especially after the early misses and mistakes.
Washington got on the board with a couple foul shot makes at the end of his first rotation and then made his first field goal on an off-side catch and corner turn finish that was more “getting his feet wet”. The first taste of his big night started late in the first half when he attacked, faded back, saw the defense sag, heard the announcer say his nickname “Jelly Dimes”, and hit a three.
At the ten minute mark of the second half Washington had seven points and the score was 98-77 (Washington’s team behind). The game was fun for the crowd but memorable? Not yet. Washington was about to change that.
Isaiah stole a pass from attacking opposing player, pushed the other way, froze the retreating defender in a 2 on 1 situation, and finger rolled with style hitting double figures. That brought the crowd to their feet with kids falling over the rails in excitement.
It was one of four possessions Isaiah scored on in transition since entering the game and his impact just wasn’t on the offensive end. Washington was at the front of a zone press that forced the opposition into four turnovers in five possessions.
The Show Begins
With seven minutes to go five star Trevon Duval of New Jersey (goes to prep school in Delaware) brought the ball past the halfcourt line. Sitting in a deep stance with a focused look and an intense appearance, the local crowd favorite from Harlem (Washington) let everyone watching courtside know that he was ready to battle.
Seeing this the fans got to their feet and the real show was about to start. Washington won the first battle forcing a stepback miss and then went the other way and was fouled (made two of his foul shots). Two possessions later Washington put a nasty spin move on Duval and was fouled again (more FT makes).
Duval would get revenge with a one hand fake pass that stunned Washington and moments later the hesitation dribble led to an And1. Washington was angry so back the other way he shook Duval with a crossover and finished with a “finger roll of flare” turned right hand touch bucket. Between the several deep handle stunts to get Duval off balance, the separation, and the finish, ESPNU enjoyed showing this highlight five different times.
Now the intensity was up heavily and the coaches let Duval and Washington go at each other. Washington brought the same spin move at Duval only instead of a right hand-right shoulder spin, it was the opposite going left hand attack-left shoulder spin for a contested And1 basket. Fans began jumping around the building as they loved the competition.
The one on one excitement fell back for a bit but Washington’s scoring did not. He ran the floor for a feet set 12-footer on the wing running in transition and he backside sprinted to the lane to catch and score for points 27 and 28. Washington gave us the ball screen bursting attack earlier but late in the game he showed his 0 to 60 game burst, his dribble separation, and his ability to attack with either hand on either side of the rim.
The biggest shot make to keep Team Clutch from falling away was Isaiah’s step back three on the left wing that swished and brought his team within four points. After a goaltending call with 0.5 second to go the game went to overtime. Defensively Washington played as well as anybody in the game with his ball pressure and this was equally as important to the 21 point comeback as his 36 points were.
Washington used an up-fake to lift a big off his fake and then he stepped through to score his lone field goal of overtime in a crafty way. Washington also made an overtime free throw that brought him to his game high 36 points.
Under Armour Elite 24/Gopher Recruit Notes
· Local product Jalen Suggs of the 2020 class played in the UA Next game before the Elite 24 contest took play. Suggs, of Minnehaha Academy, scored once on four shot attempts in his twelve minutes on the court.
· The first thing Sidney Wilson did once on the court was race back on defense and produce one of those long armed swats just suffocating the attacking wing. Wilson, a 2018 talent headed to Brewster Academy, is a very similar prospect to Rodney Williams who was a four star talent in the 2009 class who played at Minnesota. Wilson scored three times putting up six points.
· 2018 7-foot, 220 pound Moses Brown has fast earned offers from some of the biggest names in the country after an excellent summer. Brown had two scores, five boards, two steals, and a block in his 17 minutes of an all star game that doesn’t cater to size very well.
· Duval finished with 25 points making 12 of 19 field goals plus had nine assists. Hamidou Diallo scored 22 points on 11 of 17 attempts, Zion Williamson had 23 making all ten of his attempts, and SilvioDeSousa scored 16 points with nine boards for Team Drive.
· Austin Wiley had 22 points and a dozen boards and Felton scored 16 points on 8 of 15 shooting.