Wesley Washington was named second-team Best of the West by the Long Beach Press Telegram as a high school senior. He led Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei to a 35-2 mark as they finished the year ranked No. 3 by College Basketball News. 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. Washington was coached in high school by California coaching legend Gary McKnight.
Washington enrolled in classes at Yapavai Community College in January and attended classes at the school during the spring semester. He practiced with the team for the remainder of the season. He attended summer school classes at Compton and played in several JC events, including the Jerry Mullen JC Jamboree in Tulsa.
Washington plans to receive his AA degree, which would allow him to be eligible to transfer to a Division I school after the season with three years of eligibility remaining.
The Gophers signee found out last May that he would be eligible to play basketball as a freshman after receiving word that has gotten a qualifying standardized test score. Unfortunately, questions surrounding his test score caused the administration to deny his admission.
Washington was expected to play significant minutes as a freshman for the Gophers, playing in the backourt alongside Ben Johnson, Maurice Hargrow (who transferred during the season), Adam Boone and Aaron Robinson.
Washington said that he really enjoyed his visit to Minnesota two weeks ago.
"It went great. I had so much fun hanging out with the guys. I love the 'U' and the city. I love the U.' I think that it is up and coming."
Washington plans to visit Oregon State this Thursday through Sunday. Oregon State, whose assistant Clay McKinght is the son of Wesley's high school coach, has former Mater Dei teammate Marcel Jones, an incoming freshman, on the roster.
"He has been giving me nothing but good reviews."
Washington said that he is working hard on his academics to become eligible next season.
"I'm on the right track right now. It will not be a question of graduating. I've been hitting the books."
Washington is looking forward to the season after not playing last year.
"I'm excited for the season. I'm amped, maybe over excited. The coaches have been telling me to calm down. We've been running five miles every day, so we'll be in great shape."
Washington will be playing for a new head coach as Damiane Powell, recently left the program to become head coach at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
"We had six guys leave after Coach Powell left. It messed up a lot of people and we are still recovering from that. We had two seven-footers before and are not as deep as before, but we have a chance to win state."
Washington said that he plans to visit Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. He said that he will probably wait for the late signing period to sign.
"I'll probably wait. Something could open up in the ACC or Big Ten. I'm more likely to sign in the spring. You've got to see who pops up in the picture."
Minnesota received two commitments from players who also visited the same weekend as Washington in 7-foot center James Davis and 6-foot-7 forward Damian Johnson. They have one scholarship left and are thought to be looking for a true point guard. Washington is a combo guard, who is more suited at the shooting guard spot. He is not sure if he will land at Minnesota.
" I have not talked to them (the coaches) since my visit. I consider them good friends who I can talk to, especially Vic (Cough). Honestly, I don't think that it is one of my top priorities to go to the "U." I'll never say never. You have to go somewhere you'll be proud. I have no favorite right now. I have to see where my heart takes me."