Ohio State men's basketball spotlight: Duane Washington

Adam Jardy

Ohio State will open its 2018-19 men's basketball season by playing its first game at Cincinnati in 98 years. The Buckeyes and Bearcats will meet at the newly renovated Fifth Third Arena on Nov. 7, marking only the 11th time the in-state programs have met and the first time they’ve played each other within state lines since 1921. In preparation for the game, The Dispatch is counting down the final 14 days with power rankings for each of the members of the Ohio State roster. The series continues with the seventh player in our rankings.

No. 7: Duane Washington

Position: Guard

Class: Freshman

Height/weight: 6 feet 3 / 190 pounds

Jersey number: 4

Background: A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Washington transferred to Chatsworth (California) Sierra Canyon for his senior season after three seasons with Grand Rapids Christian. A three-star prospect in the composite rankings, Washington was the No. 14 prospect from California, the No. 17 combo guard in the nation and the overall No. 168 recruit. As a junior at Grand Rapids, Washington averaged 13.1 points and 4.5 assists per game.

2017-18 stats: While helping lead Sierra Canyon to a championship, Washington averaged 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game and earning first-team all-state honors.

Need to know: Washington is a nephew of five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher and lived with him during his senior season. He played alongside Scottie Pippen Jr. and Kenyon Martin Jr. In short order, Washington had earned the nickname “The Mayor” from his teammates for his outgoing personality. During offseason workouts in Los Angeles, Washington spent time alongside both former Ohio State star Keita Bates-Diop and Kansas product Devonte Graham. Ohio State graduate assistant Andrew Dakich, who played for Michigan as a walk-on before spending last year with the Buckeyes as a graduate transfer, told The Dispatch that Washington’s flashiness reminds him of Wolverines standout Jordan Poole.

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2017-18 recap: The Trailblazers won the California Open Division state championship, and Washington had a key role in helping them get there with a near-miraculous shot to force overtime during a playoff game. As the clip shows, much of his strength was in his shooting ability. As the year progressed, Washington did spend more time in the post while playing both at the point and off the ball. The year was just another step in Washington’s overall progress from a lightly recruited player to one who eventually earned about three dozen Division I scholarship offers. “Because I can shoot the ball really well people think that my point guard skills are not there,” Washington told The Dispatch before getting to Ohio State. “It’s just what the team needs. If I need to go out there and make a lot of threes and score as much as I can, then I’ll do that.”

2018-19 outlook: Washington has shown all the early signs of being a true recruiting gem for Chris Holtmann’s staff. With a confidence to his game that verges on but seemingly doesn’t cross into blind arrogance, Washington is expected to come in and challenge for a significant role in a backcourt lean on experience. In limited practice viewings, Washington’s smooth shooting stroke has translated to college. He looks to be a third option at the point behind C.J. Jackson and Keyshawn Woods and will see plenty of opportunities at shooting guard as well. “Duane just has unbelievable shot-making ability, which we’re going to need that at times,” Jackson said. “His ability to make shots will definitely be needed this year.” His in-practice battles with classmate Luther Muhammad have been a highlight to watch.

Previous power rankings

No. 8: Musa Jallow

No. 9: Micah Potter

No. 10: Jaedon LeDee

No. 11: Justin Ahrens

No. 12: Joey Lane

No. 13: Danny Hummer

No. 14: CJ Walker


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