Something that the BBN has gotten used to in the John Calipari era is talented freshmen that can lead a team.
The 2021-22 Kentucky Wildcats is going to feature a lot of veterans thanks to the transfer portal.
However, on Thursday. the Cats’ highest ranked freshman, TyTy Washington, had his first interview as a Cat, and it appears that Cal has found another freshman that can lead.
Washington brings with him the same one-and-done expectations that we have seen in the past but as Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader notes, he isn’t joining a team full of freshmen. He will have 16 years and 13 seasons of Division 1 basketball experience around him.
Despite being one of the youngest on the team, Washington still feels like he will be a leader for this team.
“I feel like my role on this team is definitely going to be to lead,” he said. “Every day in practice, the coaches stress to me to make sure I’m talking, make sure I’m being the same person I was in high school. So, they’re just pretty much saying — with me being the point guard — everybody on the team is going to listen to what I have to say. So just speak up.”
Washington led his high school team to a 27-1 regular season record last year and landed a spot in the national high school championship tournament on ESPN.
Roberts spoke with Travis Branham of 247 Sports who believes Washington was the “breakout player” of the year nationally.
“The kid is very talented. He’s a gifted scorer, a gifted playmaker,” Branham said. “He has very good size for the position. He’s long and he’s athletic. He’s tough. I think that’s one of the key separators of him among his peers. Not only does he have the talent — he’s just really tough. He plays with grit. He loves to compete. He can really shoot it. He can score from all three levels.”
“And I think that’s going to play into his hands when it comes to him becoming a (college) playmaker.”
No one questions Washington’s game as he gets set to start his college career. But some wonder if the freshman is ready to lead a team that has Final Four expectations.
That mindset is the one that the best players under Calipari have had. They want to put in the work to be better and they make their teammates better because of it.
It sounds like the Cats have another freshman that is ready to and capable of leading the nation’s best program. The start of the 2021-22 season can’t get here soon enough.
Here is a recap of what Washington had to say via Kentucky Kernel.