Wednesday's Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that 6'3" senior guard Wesley Washington of national powerhouse Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, has firmly committed to the University of Minnesota. Washington visited the Minnesota campus October 5-7, and reports that his visit went very well quickly turned into a report that he was "90% committed" to playing for the Gophers. With today's news, that 10% doubt has disappeared.
While the addition of transfers Ben Johnson and Adam Boone has already put the Gopher backcourt on pretty stable ground for the next couple of years, Wesley will be a perfect complement to them along with Steve Esselink, Moe Hargrow, and Aaron Robinson. That's because he brings an X-factor...quickness.
Wesley is extremely quick both with and without the ball. That quickness already makes him very effective at putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket, and it has the potential to make him an excellent defender as well. Wesley's still a bit thin at roughly 165 pounds, but again that will be offset nicely by the strength of Boone and Johnson and the size of Esselink and Hargrow. Basically, he's just the type of player the Gopher roster needs.
Washington and 6'7" small forward Kerry Woolridge, a fellow Californian, have now locked up the Gophers' two available scholarships for 2003 and largely ended further recruiting efforts. Situations can always change though (no, I'm not hinting at anything), so the coaching staff will undoubtedly continue to follow a few high school seniors and junior college players throughout the year.
Recruiting for 2004 will also be somewhat quiet now that Minnesota juniors Spencer Tollackson and Miles Webb have committed to two of the three Gopher scholarships that are currently available for that year. We'll definitely be hearing some more names come springtime though, and by then it will also be time to start talking 2005.
Previous GopherHole.com updates on Wesley Washington: