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May 29, 2013

Stonewall's Washington Commits

One of Virginia's top two-sport athletes and most prolific scorers in basketball has arrived at a decision on where he will continue his playing career at the next level. Stonewall Jackson 6-foot-3 swingman J.R. Washington from the Class of 2013 will play his College Basketball at the Division II level in Greenwood, South Carolina for the Lander University Bearcats and Coach Jeff Burkhamer

Washington, the Cedar Run District Player of the Year and First Team All-Northwest Region selection, received recruiting interest from such D-1 programs as Marist, Morehead State and most notably St. Francis (PA). He also considered going the prep school route to further enhance his looks. In the end, Lander proved to make the most sense to him.

"I chose them because they were the best fit for me school wise and basketball wise," said Washington, chosen Second Team All-State in Group AAA by VirginiaPreps.com.

There were certainly plenty of traits that Lander was intrigued by in Washington's game.

"My versatility at the two-guard spot and being able to not only shoot, but get to the basket and be a playmaker," he noted.

It didn't take long for Washington to get the entire state's attention on the hardwood this past winter. Back in December in a 99-68 win over Freedom-Woodbridge in the George Long Holiday Tournament, he scored a school-record 61 points, also the most poured in by any player in the state all season, and sank 10 three-pointers.

Before Washington's scoring outburst, a player from Prince William County hadn't scored 60 points in a game since Luke Boyd of Brentsville in December of 1996.

For his senior campaign, Washington averaged 23.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 43% from the field, 80% at the foul line (152-190FT's) and drained 62 three-pointers. Having him made life easier for Stonewall Jackson on its way to a 19-7 overall mark, including regular season and tournament crowns in the Cedar Run District, and appearance in the Northwest Region semifinals, where they were knocked out by Mountain View.

Basketball wasn't the only sport Washington excelled at with the Raiders. Last year, he helped the football team to a playoff appearance and 9-2 overall record, earning All-Northwest Region First Team honors at wide receiver by catching 52 passes for 865 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Now that his prep career is finished, Washington is ready to make a significant contribution at the collegiate level. What specifically does he want to bring to Lander?

"A winning era," Washington answered. "They have really good pieces already, but with me I hope to bring another good piece to the team and to be successful. Winning a Championship is my goal. Any individual accomplishments are just a bonus to me."

In 2012-13, Lander finished 9-17 overall and 4-15 in the Peach Belt Conference. However, the team played a bevy of underclassmen. Only one senior from last season's squad graduates. Former C.D. Hylton 6-foot-4 forward Chidozie Omile just finished up his freshman season with the Bearcats.

Matthew Hatfield serves as State Basketball Analyst for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail [email protected], and don't forget to listen to him on High School Sports Talk from 10AM to Noon on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.


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