New York, N.Y. - Check the final box score from Syracuse’s 72-63 win over UConn last night, and you’ll see Howard Washington posted a one trillion.
He played one minute and didn’t log a single stat, but that wouldn’t be very telling of the freshman’s approach to the game or his mentality. Washington appears self-aware, talks as if he’s a veteran and doesn’t seem fazed by the lack of playing time.
“I mean I feel like for everybody it would be difficult, yeah, but I know my time’s coming,” Washington articulated on only playing spot minutes. “I’m staying with the process, staying patient so it’s (playing time) going to increase throughout the year.”
In his limited game action, UConn was in it’s press when Washington came in to spell Frank Howard. When he received the ball, he dribbled right, saw the trap coming just before the timeline and calmly crossed over middle and successfully passed the ball ahead to an open teammate. It might sound simple, but how many freshmen — knowing they have a short leash, playing on a grand stage — would panic and dribble into the double?
“That’s just me, I’m a point guard. I’ve always ran the team, seen every defense. It’s just basketball, it’s no different to me,” He said.
Irrespective of talent and level of play, a high basketball IQ is a skillset that will always travel. And it’s not like he hasn’t played with or against elite talent before.
“Definitely one of the best players I’ve played against or with,” Howard said of playing with Ben Simmons at Monteverde. “It’s fun having someone on your team like that.”
While Washington serves as an understudy for the time being, he’s looked to Frank for guidance and Frank has looked to instruct him in return.
“Yeah, I mean a little bit of both. I go to him, he points stuff out to me so he’s been through it. It’s his third year here, so he’s been through it.”
If nothing else, Washington is a cerebral, precocious young point-guard on a Syracuse team with only three guards in rotation. With a somewhat softer non-conference slate remaining and more reps heading into ACC play, playing time should open up.
I’d be willing to bet that he’ll be ready for it.