WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jalen Washington is that unique recruit who is both intriguing and mysterious. The first because all the numbers say he's going to be a great player, the second because no one has really seen a lot of him at the high school level.
Washington is a 6-foot-9 five-star recruit from Gary (Ind.) West Side who has added 20 pounds of muscle recently and is up to 230 pounds. He has limitless potential, but a very condensed high school resume, because he's only played seven games in two years, missing much of his freshman year with a fractured shoulder and then tearing the ACL in his right knee just before the start of his sophomore season a year ago.
But he's shown enough in AAU summers that everyone thinks he's going to be sensational, and those five stars are legit. Indiana and dozens of others have offered, and Washington told nwitimes.com that he's heard from Indiana recently.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into the summer AAU season, but that's not really affecting Washington anyway, because he was going to sit out the summer to continue rehab. He wants to be full-go for his junior season at West Side.
"It'll definitely be different because I haven't played in a while, but I'm going to be excited," Washington said of playing in West Side's 2020-21 season opener. "I'm looking forward to actually playing the whole season. It'll be fun."
Washington is currently ranked No. 17 nationally in the Class of 2022 in the 247Sports composite rankings, and he is the No. 1-ranked player in the state of Indiana.
“A lot of things coming to him now are not really a ‘wow’ moment for him because he was expecting it,'' West Side coach Chris Buggs said. There are still some things he has to get used to as far as the attention he gets – like random people who want to talk to him.''