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George Washington III adjusting to the college level ahead of freshman season

The freshman guard joined Defend the Block to share his recruiting process, love of Michigan and goals for the year.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Joseph Scheller/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Family was the driving force in finding a home for George Washington III’s collegiate career. He needed a place where he could simultaneously represent his found family at school and his own family name that’s been passed down through three generations.

After visiting Ann Arbor, it became abundantly clear Michigan was the place for him. The Wolverines’ family-oriented atmosphere checked a lot of boxes for the now freshman guard and, according to him, is what made Michigan stand out above the others

“I don’t think it’s possible to spend time around these guys, coach (Juwan) Howard, the players, the managers and not be drawn in. Everyone obviously loves what they do and loves to be here and know what they are doing. They have the best knowledge and skillset to push you to be better, too,” Washington said. “Being on campus and seeing how beautiful it is made it a really easy decision. It’s a family here and you see that in how they interact with each other.”

Washington comes from a basketball family, having grown up closely with the sport. Both parents played professionally overseas, so he’s been around the game since a young age. His father currently coaches the University of Dayton women’s basketball team and imparted a lot of wisdom to his son when it came to the recruiting process.

“My dad was big on lists. When we were going through the recruiting process, he had printed lists, but didn’t go on any official visits with me. He was off recruiting and coaching,” Washington said. “It was a whole list of statistics and things that we talked about being important in a school. Looking at it, it was validation — Michigan felt like the right place. And then seeing everything line up, too. It worked two fold for me.”

His father being a coach helped a lot in his own development, but it was his mother who passed down her shooting ability. Having the two of them as his guides only solidified the freshman’s need for a space with a healthy support system.

“Just having someone who has been coaching for a long time, he knows the game in an incredible way. Especially in the younger years, I had someone who was able to sit, coach and talk me through,” Washington said. “My mom helped a lot, too, especially on the shooting end.”

Obviously new to the roster and to campus, Washington shared more about himself as a player to give a notion about what fans can expect from him for the upcoming season.

“I’m a guard that loves to put the ball in the basket. I’m a combo, so I play the 1 and the 2,” Washington said. “The thing that puts me apart is my ball handling ability, ability to shoot the ball, and (my) feel for the game in total. I had the blessing to be around some really good guys. I feel like I have a more pro-style game. I am very excited to be in a system and school that will benefit us in winning, but be able to push me to develop way farther than I have already come.”

In terms of what he looks forward to working on, Washington shared his main adjustment will be the leap to the pace of college ball, along with defense. He also explained some goals for the upcoming year, which involves seeing his name among the best in the Big Ten.

“I think the first learning curve is the speed of the game. College runs at a different pace, and my defense has taken major leaps from my junior year,” he said. “I say for me focusing on that part, having me out on the defensive end and that being a strength and benefit to the team. I want to be one of the top defensive guys in the Big Ten, especially on the freshman side, that’s what I am trying to lock into.”