One On One With Jalen Washington: Elite Junior Goes In-Depth On His Game, Recruitment & Social Justice
Meanstreets/Gary West Side (IN) forward Jalen Washington is one of the best two-way prospects we’ve viewed over the last 2 years based on a tantalizing combination of size/skill/athleticism.
“I’m versatile. I can shoot from the outside and post-up on offense, while using my length on the defensive end to jam up the lane and generate steals and blocks.”
— Séan Smith (@seansmith35) September 20, 2019
Washington is a walking mismatch at 6’8 with the ability to knock down perimeter shots and bully defenders on the block while having the size/length/agility to block shots at the rim.
Jalen has been straddled with bad luck on the injury front, as he suffered a lower body injury last year that prevented him from suiting up for West Side/Meanstreets so far in 2020. The standout junior tells EM he is close to returning to the court and building strength has been a focal point during the rehabilitation process.
“I’ve been building up my body and getting stronger to prevent injury in the future. Since I haven’t been cleared to play five on five yet, I’m working on my jumper, ballhandling, pull-ups, hooks and floaters.”
Washington is one of more coveted prospects in the country with offers from Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, Louisville, DePaul, Maryland, Iowa, Stanford, Alabama and Nebraska.
The aforementioned programs are just the tip of the iceberg, as several other prominent schools are keeping tabs.
“UCLA, Texas, Ohio State, Missouri, South Carolina and Duke are also showing interest.”
Jalen is far from a decision and has no leaders, but six programs are making an early push in hopes that it will pay dividends down the road.
“Indiana, Michigan State, Purdue, Maryland, Stanford and South Carolina are the schools recruiting me the hardest right now.”
When the time comes to make a commitment, player development and comfort with the respective coaching staff will be paramount.
“Some of the bigger factors for my family and I are player development and family environment/comfort. I want to go to a team where we win and somewhere that fits my playing style.”
While basketball is undoubtedly an important component is his life, Washington is conscious of the social injustices that are currently plaguing the country and believes the time is now to push for equality.
“I live in a predominantly Black city and a lot of people want to speak out because of how things have been for hundreds of years. I feel like with this pandemic going on as well, it’s the perfect time to speak out and take action with lawmakers, and make life easier for Blacks in this country.”