More than a week after Mountain Pointe (Laveen, Ariz.) shooting guard Tru Washington had to watch his team fall in the state playoffs, he was back in the gym using the loss to his benefit.
“I was sick and couldn’t play in that game, and that was hard to go out like that,” Washington said. “It’s gonna bother me for a minute but getting back into the gym is the best way to move on for me.”
There is, however, a silver lining for Washington; his nephew, who he credits as the reason he picked hoops over football, is still in contention for a title of his own on the hardwood: The NCAA title.
“TyTy Washington is my nephew,” Tru said. “A lot of people don’t know that, or they think we’re brothers because we’ve said that our whole lives, because it’s harder to explain with me being 17 and him being 20, but, yeah, he’s actually my nephew.”
TyTy is currently running the show for No. 5 Kentucky, averaging 12.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists a game.
“When I was a freshman and we played on the same team, sometimes, I’d score on him and tell him to call me ‘unc’ or something like that,” Tru said with a laugh. “But we’ve always been like brothers; I’ve learned a lot from him.”
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Growing up both TyTy and Tru excelled as two-sport athletes on the hardwood and the gridiron. When TyTy began to focus on hoops, Tru noticed that TyTy was able to take more trips out of town, a major selling point for Tru who liked to scour the country taking on all comers.
“In football, we were only going out of town to play if we made it to nationals or something,” Tru said. “I already loved basketball and the trips are always fun just being with your friends playing the game you love. Watching TyTy I knew that I wanted to play basketball from that point on. I’m definitely proud of everything he’s accomplished.”
Now, Tru is making a name in his own right.
This season, he averaged 23 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three assists a game for the Pride. This spring, he’ll run with Arizona Select in the Under Armour Association.
That’s got Georgia, Portland, Pepperdine, Santa Clara and Arizona State, among others, in pursuit.
“This is my last spring and summer on the circuit, so my mentality is to go out there and kill,” Tru said. “The biggest thing I want to improve is my athleticism and get more consistent with my jumper. I can’t wait to get started because I’ve been working hard. TyTy always plays with confidence, and he taught me a lot about the mental part of the game. We’re on our own paths, but I know he’s always got me back and I’ve always got his.”