The No.111 ranked player in the Rivals150 Michael Washington has transferred from McGhee (Ark.) High School to Heritage Christian High School in Houston, Texas. There the 6-foot-8, 219-pound combo forward will concentrate on improving his academic situation. And the word out of the Arkansas Wings AAU program is that Washington will reclassify to the class of 2006.
“Michael has been at Heritage Christian in Houston for about a week now,” said Coach Tony Moore of the Arkansas Wings. “After a lot of discussion with his parents, he decided it was the best decision for him. It was a tough decision for a country boy like Michael to leave his hometown, but he is committed to doing what he needs to do. From a basketball standpoint, there is no telling what he can do if he gets his academics in order.”
In just his short time at Heritage Christian, Washington is already seeing his game improve. It might take a little longer for him to get where he needs to be academically.
“He feels that he is already getting better,” said Moore. “He has gone from not lifting at all to a system where he is either working his upper body or lower body everyday.
“He is planning on being at Heritage Christian for two years. It would be extremely difficult for him to qualify this year. Taking two years will give him time to get ready for the test and redo some mistakes he has made. Also, there is no telling how good he could be in two years.”
An unknown coming into the AAU season last spring, Washington caused quite a stir amongst the college coaches while playing in Las Vegas in April. Numerous high majors, particularly from the Big 12 and SEC, were vigorously pursuing him until his academic situation became apparent. Nonetheless, several schools have continued to show interest in Washington, and now that he has decided to reclassify, his recruitment should heat up once again.
“A lot of schools have continued to show interest in Michael,” said Moore. “Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Texas and LSU have maintained contact with him. Once everyone finds out he is now a 2006 prospect and is going to get his academics in order, a lot more people will be on him.”
Washington, who averaged 24 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks per game last season, has the athleticism and length that coaches drool over. He does have a nice shooting touch, but he is raw, however, and is still learning the game. In need of bulking up, if he can refine his skills and put them together with a feel for the game, he could be a very good high major combo forward.