Texas Tech basketball: Red Raiders land impact big man Warren Washington
Warren Washington’s journey through his college basketball career has been rather winding. Now, it appears it will end in Lubbock, Texas as the former Arizona State big man announced Friday on social media that he has committed to the Texas Tech basketball program.
A 7-foot, 215-pound native of San Marcos, California, Washington has played for three programs in his career and now will call the South Plains home to finish out his NCAA journey. Starting off at Oregon State in 2018-19, he then transferred to Nevada for three seasons (redshirting in 2019-20, which happened to coincide with the COVID-19 year in which the NCAA gave all players a free year of eligibility). Last season, he found his way to Arizona State where he put up 9.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
What might be even more important for the Red Raiders from a statistical standpoint is Washington’s ability to protect the rim. Last season, he swatted 1.8 shots per game registering 60 total for the season.
Coming out of high school, Washington was a 3-star recruit and the No. 53 power forward in the nation according to 247Sports.com. During his career at the collegiate level, he’s had two seasons with double-digit scoring (both coming at Nevada), and he has managed to compile 16 performances of 15 or more points.
Perhaps his best game came this past season when he tallied 21 points and 8 rebounds in a loss to USC. He’s also had an 18-point game against Utah and a 20-point effort against San Diego State early in the 2021-22 season, the season prior to the Aztecs reaching the National Championship Game.
What is important to know about Washington’s game is that he is a true center. He is not going to step away from the paint and light it up from the outside like some recent 7-footers in the college game have been known to do. Even last season, former Red Raider big man, Fardaws Aimaq, was a threat to hit shots from beyond the 3-point line. But Washington has attempted only two 3-pointers in his career and he failed to connect on either.
To say that this was a much-needed addition for Tech is an understatement. With no players on the roster over 6-foot-8 prior to Friday, head coach Grant McCasland was in desperate need of an impact big man. What’s more, following Washington’s official visit to Lubbock last week, he was in Fort Worth for an official with TCU and it was believed that the Frogs were the main competition for his services. Now, McCasland has won his first head-to-head showdown with Jamie Dixon and here’s hoping that will continue to be the case when the two coaches meet on the basketball court.
This move is far from the end of the recruiting road for next season, though. In fact, there could be as many as three more spots to fill should one of the incoming true freshmen (likely Jordan Jackson) decide to decommit as has been rumored online.
Look for the Red Raiders to continue to try to add some size in the post. There is still a need for a power-forward type of player who can battle for rebounds and who can take up some room in the lane in a manner similar to former Red Raider Norense Odiase.
Also, it is believed that San Diego State transfer Keshad Johnson is going to visit Lubbock, potentially within the upcoming week. The 6-foot-7 senior averaged 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game this past season and opened some eyes with a 14-point effort in the National Title Game. However, the competition for his services will be intense given that he has already taken an official visit to Kentucky.
Another name to watch is Tyrin Lawrence, a Vanderbilt transfer who averaged over 13 points per game last season. Though he is a guard and not a big man, Tech is expected to be all-in on his recruitment but this will be another difficult recruiting task given that virtually every program in the nation would love to add someone with his size (6-foot-4) and skillset.
In other words, the task facing McCasland in regard to putting together next season’s roster is far from complete. But with the addition of Washington, it is now feasible to see how this roster could compete in the Big 12.
While no one is going to predict that Tech is now a contender for the league crown without no more impact additions, having Washington in the mix is perhaps the biggest move this team will make (roster-wise) this season. Now with some legitimate size in the fold, there’s reason to be far more optimistic about what McCasland might be able to accomplish in year one.