Three years ago Isaiah Washington had it all. Fame, hype, and talent surrounded the four-star recruit. The former New York Mr. Basketball developed a cult-like social media following and was considered a budding star for the Minnesota Gophers.
His fame stemmed from his flashy style of play that took social media by storm. Sports media startup “Overtime” often displayed Washingtons highlights on Youtube or Instagram gaining him attention from many NBA athletes including highschool prodigy himself LeBron James. Other athletes started mimicked Washington’s style of court swag including current Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving. The fancy layups Washington revolutionized was called “Jelly.”
According to Bleacher Report, “Jelly refers to extra creativity you put into finishing a layup. You gotta hit those angles, man. Switch hands, double-clutch it, go through your legs backward if necessary. Whatever it is, you need to kill it. We’re talking about that extra-layer degree-of-difficulty stuff. To Jelly is to harness the full expression of creativity, the thing that is the essence of why we love basketball in the first place.”
As a Bronx native Washington sparked the comeback of New York City hoops with his streetball swagger. However, once enrolled at Minnesota his talents didn’t translate well against Big 10 competition and his name was left in the rafters with all the other high school greats that could have been. In his final season with the Gophers before transferring to Iona he averaged four points per game solidifying his Minnesota career as a bust.
However, as of recently, Washington seems to be playing with a newfound passion. Over the past four games, he’s averaged 15 points per game and didn’t disappoint against Marist today. In the first half, Washington looked the part of his usual college self and put up a disappointing two points. But early on in the second half Washington was shimming and slipping past defenders just like his high school days. He ended the game with 21 points, three steals, six rebounds and most importantly the win.
After the game, Washington recognized his second-half surge but credited his teammates and coaches for the win. “In the second half we locked in we played hard we played together we tried to rebound as much as we can coach was drawing up good plays for us to score and execute and we just came out with a win.”
As for John Dunne and the Red Foxes, their hot streak has stalled. Marist in the second half looked lost and unenthused. Dunne was not afraid to speak his mind after the game. “We didn’t have the proper energy to start the second half. It was the first time that I was disappointed with our energy level in the last month,” he said. Dunne also seemed impressed with Washington’s stat line as the second-year coach offered some praise for the previous New York hero. “I’m gonna have to go back and watch the film but he did hit all of his free throws.”
The Red Foxes will look to end a two-game losing streak this Friday against Monmouth. Iona, on the other hand, is heating up at just the right time. With only six games left in the regular season, they are looking to carry their momentum into the MAAC Championship. Iona is currently on a four-game winning streak and with Washington playing like the player he once was. Siena should have a tough task beating them on Wednesday.
Edited by Mitch Conrad