The Wolverine

December 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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58 THE WOLVERINE DECEMBER 2022   COMMITMENT PROFILE BY CHRIS BALAS J uwan Howard didn't need to wait long to add his second commit- ment to the 2023 class after South Kent (Conn.) School big man Papa Kante pledged in October. George Washing- ton III, a 6-foot-2 combo guard out of Louisville, Ky., chose the Wolverines over Wake Forest, Dayton, and others Nov. 1. On3's No. 134 overall player na- tionally when he pledged (and No. 112 in the On3 Consensus, which equally weights all four major recruiting ser- vices), Washington is a former Ohio State pledge who is reminiscent of for- mer Michigan guard Eli Brooks, accord- ing to some experts. Once a top-30 target in his class, Washington dropped precipitously af- ter an up-and-down summer. He's ex- tremely athletic, however, and has high upside. He enjoyed a great weekend visit in October and had Michigan on his mind ever since. "I think at the end of the day Michi- gan is just the best place for me in terms of both personality, playing style and my end goal of playing and being a prominent guard in the NBA," Wash- ington said. "I feel like it's just an op- portunity that I'm blessed by God to have and one that I had to take." He told Michigan fans to "get ready" for some fun basketball, because he and Kante (6-foot-10, On3's No. 32 senior nationally) are "coming to add to a great team and hang banners." "I believe that they are getting the best guard in the '23 class," he contin- ued when asked to assess what Michi- gan was getting in him. "A guard that can shoot it from anywhere on the court and will handle and run the team. A guard that also can take it all the way to the rim and play above the rim. "I'm someone that stays in the gym and is focused on my development and winning games." Which is exactly what Howard is looking for in a player. Washington thrived the past two seasons at Christian Academy of Lou- isville. He scored 1,346 points (23.6 points per game), made 136 3-pointers, and shot 91.1 percent at the free throw line (328 of 360) in two seasons with the Centurions. He averaged 23.4 points per game last year while grabbing 6.8 rebounds to lead his team to a 20-12 overall record, shooting 52.5 percent (244 of 464) from the field with 65 3-point field goals. The talented scorer notched six games of 30-plus points and one of 40-plus with a career-high 45 points in an 81-79 win over Bardstown (Jan. 8, 2022). On3's Jamie Shaw called Washington a "score-first lead guard" who is "very confident in his ability to shoot the ball, and he does have range that extends be- yond the 3-point arc. "Questions arise about his lack of athleticism and length. Can he consis- tently get to his shot effectively?" Shaw added. "Washington's mechanics do not change whether shooting off the catch or off the dribble. And when given a clean look, he can knock it down. "But how well does Washington see the floor? He averaged 1 assist to 2 turnovers during [Nike] Peach Jam this summer. Also, given his lack of size and athletics, there are defensive questions at the highest level." Washington played on the Nike EYBL circuit with All-Ohio Red during the summer, averaging 13.5 points over his 13-game schedule. He capped the sum- mer with 19 points against Team CP3 and Kentucky signee Robert Dilling- ham, a five-star prospect. Sources told Shaw that Wake Forest pursued Washington the hardest next to Michigan. "They came in multiple times to see him at school and were in constant con- tact with him," he said. "On the visit, intel says that Wake coaches talked about the early playing time available." Washington initially pledged to the Buckeyes in September 2021, and at the time he was considered one of the top shooting guards in his class. He's also a leaper who can play above the rim and has made videos performing an array of athletic dunks. Washington will play his senior sea- son at Dayton (Ohio) Chaminade Juli- enne High. The family moved because his father, George, took a job as an as- sistant coach and recruiting coordinator with the University of Dayton women's basketball team in the spring. The Wolverines still have room for at least one more player in the 2023 class, though Howard was noncommittal when asked if they'd sign anyone else. "We haven't gotten that far yet," he said. "Taking it one day at a time." The next signing period is in April. The Wolverines could also hit the trans- fer portal to address their needs follow- ing the season, as they have the last few years. For now, however, Howard is happy with his duo and excited to get them on campus next year. ❏ Combo Guard George Washington III Is Michigan Basketball's Second 2023 Pledge Washington is a 6-foot-2 guard who averaged 23.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last year at Christian Academy of Louisville, Ky. He is ranked as the No. 112 overall player nationally in the On3 Consensus. PHOTO COURTESY OF GEORGE WASHINGTON III

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