Wesley Washington returns home

The men's basketball program announced that incoming freshman guard Wesley Washington of Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei has returned home to California. Washington's admission status into the University of Minnesota was not finalized and he chose to return home. Washington was named second-team Best of the West by the Long Beach Press Telegram. He led Mater Dei to a 35-2 mark and finished the year ranked #3 by College Basketball News.

It is expected that he will attempt to enroll at a school in his home state of California, especially since many colleges in that state have not yet begun classes. Minnesota started school Tuesday.

Wesley Washington averaged 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.0 steals per game on a balanced team that has seven Division I-caliber recruits. The Monarchs defeated Roseville Woodcreek 70-49 to win the California Division II state title as Washington had 12 points. He was named the California Interscholastic Federation Player of the Year as a junior and a senior and the Orange County Register Player of the Year as a senior.

The Gophers signee found out in May that he would be eligible to play basketball as a freshman after receiving word that has gotten a qualifying standardized test score, so the news of his not being part of the 2003-04 team caught many fans off guard.

"We regretfully announce that Wesley has left Minnesota and returned home," head coach Dan Monson said. "Due to student privacy rights, I am not at liberty to discuss any of the specifics of Wesley's case. I hope things work out for Wes and all his circumstances get resolved. Not only is he is an excellent basketball player, but he's a quality person as well. We wish him the very best."

Washington was expected to play significant minutes as a freshman for the Gopers, playing in the backourt alongside Ben Johnson, Maurice Hargrow, Adam Boone and Aaron Robinson.

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