Ohio State lands commitment from 2023 four-star guard George Washington III

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch
George Washington III, a four-star guard in the 2023 class from Louisville, poses with Ohio State men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann while attending the football game against Penn State on October 30, 2021. Washington was on an official visit.

George Washington III hadn’t necessarily entered the weekend planning to commit to a college.

The four-star combo guard from Louisville might have had an idea which way he was leaning, but it would take a few words from a former men’s college basketball player to help him realize what he wanted – and where he was wanted.

“He was telling me when his kids were going through a decision, he told me to make a list of the top four or five things that they feel like were the most important to them to have in their college,” Washington said. “They went through and compared all the schools, and when they found the school that had offered them that had matched all those things on their list, and they really felt connected to the school and they felt needed there and they wanted to be there, that there’s no real reason to hold it off.”

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The person offering the advice was Clark Kellogg. The Ohio State legend wasn’t attempting to influence Washington to commit to the Buckeyes, but the longer those words burned through Washington’s mind while on his official visit, the more he realized what he wanted to do.

Now Washington is the first member of the 2023 recruiting class to commit to Ohio State, the first school to offer him a scholarship.

“Since day one, I’ve absolutely loved it,” he said. “They’ve been at the top of my list since the beginning. I love the feel of campus. I love the energy. The fans in Columbus are absolutely amazing. I feel like their style of play, with their coaching staff, I can really see myself playing there and it being a place where I can make an impact. I feel like it’s honestly the best situation for me.”

While on his visit, Washington said he spent most of his time with a trio of second-year players: Gene Brown III, Meechie Johnson Jr. and Zed Key. It was his third visit to Ohio State, and this trip differed because he got a feel for the program the players’ point of view, he said.

A 6-2, 165-pound combo guard from Louisville Christian Academy, Washington is the No. 50 national recruit, the No. 2 player from Kentucky and the No. 9 combo guard in the nation according to the composite database. Louisville, Tennessee, Auburn and Liberty are known to have also offered.

The Ohio State coaches have told him they envision him playing both guard positions.

“They don’t want me to be another Duane Washington point-for-point, but that kind of style and thinking in those situations are a lot of places they can see me,” he said. “A (point guard) that can play on and off the ball, that knows how to create for his teammates and also get his own, that can stretch the floor with his shooting and also attack the basket and keep the defense honest.”

Originally from Texas, Washington and his family moved to Louisville following his freshman year at Austin St. Michael’s Catholic Academy. Immediately upon his enrollment at his new school, Christian Academy coach Aaron Hill said Washington took on a leadership role on a team with seven seniors. Washington is the son of a coach: his father spent eight seasons as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Texas.

He set up a FaceTime call with Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann and assistant Ryan Pedon for Tuesday afternoon. Washington donned an Ohio State shirt, committed to the program and then headed to practice. His coach told Washington’s teammates the news but that they had to keep it secret for a little while.

It hardly seemed a secret to them.

“I can’t tell you how many of my teammates came up to me like, ‘I mean, we knew you were gonna do it. We knew that’s where you were going. How you talked about them all year, like, we knew,’ ” Washington said.

Now, everyone does.