Washburn?s talent, potential bring success

By By Kelsey Price

By Kelsey Price

Sometimes, it’s the underclassmen who make the biggest impact on a team’s season. During my senior year in high school, our basketball team broke the longest winning streak in state history in the 4A championship game. A sophomore who wasn’t even 5-foot-11 had largely carried the team throughout the season.

Freshmen are crucial to teams that are in developmental stages in their programs. As the men’s basketball program looks to return to the height of its glory days in the 1990s, freshmen, such as center Jason Washburn, are an undeniably important factor on both a short and long-term basis.

In high school, Washburn was ranked as one of the best centers from his class in the country. Recruited by big shots from schools such as LSU and Michigan State, Washburn averaged 17 points and a double-double per game as a junior. Only four games into the season, Washburn is already proving to be a key player for the Runnin’ Utes.

Washburn8212;who stands at 7 feet8212;is not just another big man on the court. Playing baseline to baseline with an abundance of energy, he is proving to be a shot-blocker who can play both sides of the court.

The numbers speak for themselves. Averaging 12 points per game, Washburn leads the team with his field goal value at 89 percent. He is also averaging 4.3 rebounds per game and leads the team in offensive rebounds.

Washburn can run, jump, shoot and rebound well, as a freshman, his game can only improve. His game is good, and the potential for development is even better. Washburn could be the big man the Utes need.

As a center, Washburn has not only good overall ball control, but also a dangerous inside jump hook that could turn into a huge offensive weapon for the Runnin’ Utes as he develops more as a player.

Washburn’s presence at post is going to give headaches to opponents. As a freshman, he has proved in games against Idaho and Southern University just how hard of a matchup he is one-on-one. For Washburn, his game improvement turns into more success for the team, this season and beyond.

Potential is what makes Washburn such an invaluable asset for Utah. Add a bit of bulk and some more shots outside the paint, and you’re suddenly looking at a player who is a threat at any given time in the game.

The ’06 and ’07 seasons left the men’s basketball team in a situation where there was only room for improvement. Last season saw four highly productive seniors depart. Washburn, and other freshmen like him, might provide the Utes with the spark they need to continue their success.

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