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George Washington III Q&A

Updated: Jun 11, 2022

Credit: @dawsoncrtv (IG)

6’2” combo guard George Washington III comes from a successful basketball family with both of his parents having played professionally in Finland after meeting at Abilene Christian University as college athletes. As an assistant coach at Texas for eight seasons, his father had an impact in recruiting and skill development as well as coordinating strength and conditioning programs. Additionally, his sister earned McDonald’s All-American honors prior to playing at Texas and later professionally in Spain. He has two younger brothers play alongside him at Christian Academy of Louisville (KY).

Washington had a productive AAU season on the Nike EYBL 16U circuit with JL3 Elite (TX), showcasing his efficiency as a high-volume shooter from deep where he hit 40% of his threes. The 2023 prospect is the highest-ranked recruit the Buckeyes have reeled in since D’Angelo Russell in 2014, per ESPN. Washington chose Ohio State over offers from Auburn, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Xavier, among others.

As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Washington discussed how getting cut from a team at an early age was an eye-opener, his off-court interests, what Ohio State fans can expect from him on the court, and more.

For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present Ohio State commit George Washington III, from Louisville, Kentucky:

Pro Insight: How did you get to where you are today?

George Washington III: So both my parents actually played overseas in Finland, professional basketball. They met at Abilene Christian University. My mom is actually in the Abilene Christian Hall of Fame. Both of them were pretty successful in basketball. My mom was probably the better player (laughs). My dad ended up going into coaching and did really well as a high school basketball coach in Texas at Westbury Christian, and coached a few Nike AAU teams out of Houston. From there, he got a job at the University of Texas, so we moved to Austin. He coached there for eight years. And also my sister was a McDonald's All-American. She ended up playing at Texas. She was really good. She just went back to Spain in her third season as a pro. So I've always kind of grown up around basketball. And having parents that were really successful and playing, but didn't make it to that highest level, they really understood what it takes, and the amount of work it takes, and the skills needed to push me. I feel like just having that around me God really blessed me to be in a situation where I have great people around to push me to where I am today. It’s been great.

PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?

GW: I mean if you count YMCA flag football. My team, I think we probably went like three seasons and gave up like a first down like the whole year. I mean I love football. Football is hands-down my second-favorite sport. If I didn’t play basketball, I’d probably play football but I've learned with my build, it just really isn't for me. I love basketball. I couldn't see myself not playing it.

PI: What was the turning point in which you dedicated yourself exclusively to basketball?

GW: Hmm, I think it was probably around fourth or fifth grade when I first started playing AAU basketball. I actually was playing one or two years up, I can't quite remember, and I got cut from the team. And I remember sitting with my dad and we just kind of had a talk like “is this something you want to really go after and push? If it is, this is where we take the first steps to really get to a different level, or is it something you want…” I mean, I obviously have fun playing either way, but it was like “is this something you just kind of want to do like on the side for fun and go back to playing in the YMCA and just pick up with friends?” I feel like that was kind of like a crossroads for me where I realized I really wanted to get better at this and this is something I love doing. I feel like God's calling me to do it.

PI: For those that aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths?

GW: I'd say definitely my two greatest strengths are probably my ball handling and shooting ability. Ever since I was little, I haven't always been the most athletic. That's really changed I feel like now but growing up, I was always a little slower so working on my handles and shooting and shooting the ball the right way was something that I really focused on because it was something I always had control over. Now, I feel like I've gotten a lot more comparisons to like a Jamal Murray, a player that has that shot-creating ability, handling, can play kind of the one or two, but also he can get to the basket and make plays at the rim. Being able to be in the weight room and really lift and train my body has been big. My athleticism has really taken the next step, really from watching film, like watching people like Rondo, Chris Paul, and D’Angelo Russell. Passing has been another thing that I think I've taken major steps in and also I feel like that Jamal Murray is probably the best comparison.

PI: Do you have a training regimen when you go to the gym?

GW: I think it really helped having my dad because he's been around basketball for so long. He loves studying what he does. So from that, I kind of was able to sit there and see like every time I got in the gym, we used to do heavy ball form shots, big ball form shots, regular ball form shots, and then we start slowly [shooting] mid range, three-pointers, deeper pull-ups and working inside-out. Having him always check my fundamentals and making sure I'm on track with the basics really, really helped.

PI: Who do you train with besides your father?

GW: In Texas, Martinez Martin. He works for I’m Possible. He trained my sister, that was in Austin. I think I can remember almost there's like a stretch during the summertime, where I think every Saturday we're at this little tiny middle school gym. At one point, the floor was carpet. They fixed it eventually, but I'd be there from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. We’d just be in the gym, hanging out, working out, go get something to eat, do another workout, take a rest, hit another workout. He really pushed my playmaking, finishing, and ball handling. The other guy in Texas, John Lucas, I play for his AAU team so having him and someone who is always around pros, it helps so much, and his approach to the game and how he sees it is incredible. He’s great. And now moving here, Dion Lee has been another guy that I've always stayed in the gym with. He’s worked with Rondo and D'Angelo Russell, and his repertoire and the way he sees the game, his IQ is insane, and that's something he's really helped me with. I'm just looking at the game in a different way. And seeing maybe that when I drive this way, my left foot may lag a little bit, so I'm a little slower getting into that shot which is causing me to turn and take a tougher shot. Like the way he's able to break down every single thing I do, and add a level of detail that I've never seen before is incredible. So I've been blessed with a lot of trainers that really know what they're doing and have been able to push me.

PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?

GW: I mean, I feel like my basketball IQ is pretty high. But working with Dion, I think the thing we've talked about is how Rondo is able to see the game, and how LeBron James is able to see the game. And being in the gym and watching Harden play pickup, how he's able to see the game, it's a different level. So I really feel like honing my mindset, that degree of sharpness is really, really important for my development, and also my body. I don't think to play basketball you need to put on 35 pounds of muscle, but gaining, having usable strength and strong strength, like strength with my frame is important. Physicality, like being bulky and physicality aren’t the same thing, but being physical when I play is really important.

PI: Describe your experience with JL3 Elite.

GW: It was great. We had a great team. It was honestly a great experience because we didn't have as many practices like every weekend, but we would come in for a few weeks at a time. And just, it would be training. It’s kind of hard to even call it practice because every time we'd be in the gym, it would just be everybody…pros, college guys. We’d all be in the gym and just work, and I mean we have a few sets and plays but we get up and down. Almost everything was competition and training and the amount of improvement that was made like having two-a-days for like two weeks, and then being able to go back home. The amount of improvement made was incredible. [Coach Lucas] knows how to get the best out of you and he's able to do it consistently. And it really showed, I mean I feel like we somewhat underperformed with who we had through most of the AAU season. And then when we got to the Peach Jam, everything just fell in and came together. All the work that we put in really showed in that moment. It was a great feeling, great group of guys, too.

PI: What are your current measurements?

GW: Height-wise, I'm around 6’2, 6’3. Wingspan last I checked was probably one or two inches taller than I am. And weight, I'm like 176, 175 [pounds].</