Before taking a break, George Washington III took the chance to learn from a couple of pros.
Each summer, the future Ohio State guard takes a two-week break from working out and training in order to let his body recover. It’s a requirement instilled by his father, an assistant coach for the Dayton women’s basketball team, and one Washington said provides significant benefits once completed.
Monday, Washington was two or three days in. Leading into it, the 6-2, 165-pound shooting guard who will be a senior at Dayton Chaminade Julienne spent the prior two weeks getting first-hand experience with the likes of NBA players Darius Garland, Dylan Windler and former Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell.
First, Washington spent time in Nashville training and then helping as part of Los Angeles Clippers forward Robert Covington’s “Allergic to Failure” basketball camp.
Ohio State basketball insiderStay in the know with texts from beat reporter Adam Jardy
“I was in pickup runs with Darius Garland and Robert Covington,” Washington said. “Before that point, I can’t think that I’ve ever been in that close proximity working with pros of that level like that. It was eye-opening to see the level of attention to detail they pay to everything, the way that they carry themselves and that whole process. These are guys making a whole lot of money who are doing what I want to be doing. Darius is built very similar to me size-wise and skill set-wise. We’re pretty similar.”
Garland was recruited to Vanderbilt by Jake Diebler, now associate head coach at Ohio State, and this summer signed a five-year, $193 million contract extension that is the largest in Cleveland Cavaliers history. In addition to Covington and Garland, Washington said he also worked out with Cavalier Dylan Windler and Ian Clark, who played 330 NBA games with four teams from 2013-19.
When that experience was complete, Washington headed to Miami and met up with his Louisville-based trainer, Dion Lee. It was in the Sunshine State that Washington got the chance to share the court with Russell, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft after one season with the Buckeyes.
It left an impression on Washington.
“He’s a pro’s pro, honestly,” he said of Russell. “You can tell in the way he plays. Even trying to guard him, sometimes it doesn’t even feel like he’s really pushing because he knows the game so well and he has such an understanding of where everyone’s gonna be, where your hands are going to be, that he just gets to his spots and makes it look effortless. He’ll hit shots you’re like, there’s no way he can hit, because he’s a master of getting that one inch off of your game or creating that little bit of contact or separation to make you make a mistake.
“It was a great thing to see, and his vision is insane.”
Washington’s time with Russell came primarily in the afternoons. Mornings were spent with Gary Harris of the Orlando Magic and current George Mason player DeVon Cooper. In the evenings, Washington said he got to be a fly on the wall as the likes of Donovan Mitchell, Anthony Edwards, Michael Beasley and Russell played pickup basketball with one another.
“I feel like they helped me in different aspects,” he said. “Having Darius pull me aside during pickup games (and show me specific things), it was very much from my position what I can do pace-wise and skill-wise to separate myself to a pro level. Seeing how DLo dishes it out to everybody, gets all his guys involved or seeing how Anthony Edwards just tries to go out and dog people, one of the most competitive guys on the court, or Donovan’s combination of all his skills and athleticism, it was a great dual experience.”
It all helped show Washington, a four-star prospect ranked No. 98 nationally according to the 247Sports.com composite database, where his game still needs to grow as he enters his senior year. He’s part of a four-man class ranked No. 4 nationally and one that gained commitments from four-star small forwards Devin Royal and Scotty Middleton within the span of five days earlier this month.
Those three, along with fourth member Austin Parks, quickly started a group chat, Washington said. With their combined abilities, plus the lessons learned this summer, the shooting guard said he’s excited for what lies ahead.
“I don’t think that you could ask for a better class or a better group of kids to come in together,” he said. “I am really excited about this year. To me, I think I’m a top-five guard in my class and I can’t wait to really showcase that to the best of my ability, God-willing.”
One he finishes his current break, that is.
Get more Ohio State basketball news by listening to our podcasts
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: D'Angelo Russell helps Ohio State commit George Washington III