Syracuse was always Howard Washington's preferred destination. It was no secret that it was his dream to play for the Orange. So when an offer was extended last weekend, it was a bit of a surprise that it took five days for the 6-foot-3 point guard to pull the trigger.
"I wanted to talk it over with my family," Washington said. "I wanted to involve my coaches, coach Tony McIntyre, my dad. He was a really key, important aspect to this. We just wanted to take our time and make sure this was the right decision for us. After a couple of days, we knew this is where I wanted to be and made it happen."
A point guard has always been a critical position for SU in the 2017 cycle. They have pursued others, but after the early signing period, Washington seemed to make the most sense. He wanted Syracuse, was at a position of critical need and other options were limited at best.
Syracuse continued to recruit him, and ultimately snagged the Western New York native.
"I grew up loving Syracuse," Washington said. "Besides that, I just felt it was the perfect spot. They need a point guard desperately. It's kind of close to home. I love the offense they play and the notorious 2-3 zone. It's different and unique. I love their coaching style.
"I love coach Boeheim and coach Hopkins and the whole staff. You get to work with great point guards like Gerry McNamara every day. They know what it takes to get to the next level."
Once a decision was made, it was time to call the Syracuse coaches.
"They were excited," Washington said. "They were really happy. Not really surprised. They knew. We've had the conversation before that this is really where I wanted to be. I got the offer and had to make sure that's where I wanted to be. They were really happy. Building a great relationship with coach Hopkins and coach McNamara, who I would be working with once I'm there.
"They needed a point guard and now they have one. They're ready to get going."
After Washington committed, the discussion turned towards business. Towards what Washington can bring to a storied program.
"I told them the same thing, that I don't want anything given to me," Washington said. "Just a fair shot to go in there, with two guards on the roster right now, and go in there to get a starting spot. They have all the trust and faith in me that I can go in there and do that.
"So hopefully I can go in and compete for a starting spot and lead Syracuse."
There will naturally be some Syracuse fans that will be skeptical about Washington's inclusion in Syracuse's class. The three-stars rather than four or five will turn some off. But Washington has a message for all Orange fans as to what he brings to the table.
"Just a leader," Washington said. "Someone who can rally the guys together. Whether it's getting it to them to score on the wings or down low or scoring myself whenever I want to. I'm just going to be a player who can do it all and do whatever it takes to win.
"Make big shots and big passes. Communicating, talking and everything. They can expect a whole lot from me."