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Darius Washington NBA Draft Scouting Report
by:
March 29, 2005
Strengths
He is a terrific ball handler at the PG position. Knows how to use the spin move to his advantage and uses it well on the break to free himself up, create space, get to the basket and use his strength to finish strong. Simply put, he knows how to get to the rim and put the ball in the cup. Washington is definitely a scoring guard first and foremost, he is very dangerous in the open court and is extremely fast with the ball in his hands.

Washington has a great first step, and can break people down off the dribble at any moment. He is very good at changing directions, and loves to push the ball up the floor. He always has his head up in traffic, and knows how to find spaces to attack the defense, draw them in and kick it out to the open man. He has good foot-speed both with and without the ball.

Washington has good strength for such a young player, and is very good at finishing plays in traffic. He is not a hesitant player at all, and will attack the basket no matter who is in the paint on defense. He is very advanced for his age at drawing fouls with his ability to get to the rim. He has exceptional quickness and ball handling ability and gets to a line often for a player his size.

Washington is a gifted one on one offensive player, and seems to move effortlessly on the basketball court, possessing the natural scoring instincts that just can't be taught. He is very fluid and is a very good athlete for a guard. Washington has proven to be an effective outside shooter at times, but he is at his best around the hoop, where he is very good at getting his shot off and can make nimble moves while in the air off penetration.

Throughout his freshman year, Washington has become an increasingly productive outside shooter; he is not the type of guard that can only penetrate to create on offense. He has learned how to use pump fakes and jab steps to free himself up, and if he gets an open shot, he will knock it down. In his first season at Memphis, he almost shot 40% from the three-point line, and showed better and better shot selection as the season progressed.

He's shown to be a fiery competitor who does not back down from challenges and is not afraid to take a team on his back, which is great to see from a player his age and surely a good sign for the future.


Weaknesses
Washington is not a pure PG at this point in time; he is a scoring guard first and foremost. He turns the ball over just as often as he gets an assist. To be a better NBA prospect he will have to improve his decision-making, shot selection and take better care of the basketball. I doubt he will ever be a true PG because that's just not his game, but he definitely can get better at controlling the tempo of the game, making better decisions with the ball in his hands, and creating for others as much as he creates for himself. Becoming a more consistent outside shooter, especially off the dribble, should also be a priority. Most NBA PG's have a pull-up jumper in their arsenal to compliment their slashing ability. Washington would be well served to work on this area of his game to make himself a more versatile player.

On defense, Washington has the quickness and athletic ability to be a fine defender at the PG position, but he hasn't shown much of that yet. He has the potential to do that, but right now that's an area of weakness in his game. He is not very good at putting pressure the ball, and it's not rare to see his man blow right by him for an easy layup. He'll have to work hard on this area.

Since Washington handles the basketball so often, some might say he cannot be effective without the ball in his hands. Sometimes he tends to over-dribble and force shots going to the basket. During some games, he puts up very good assist numbers, but other games he does not. For his stock to rise he will have to become a better passer, even though I do not think he is a typical true PG because that is not his game. He'll be playing in the NBA with players that are just as good as him, though, so he must show the ability to get everyone around him involved. Consistency and decision making is also something that he needs to work on, but that will hopefully come with time.


Competition
Washington started out slow this year as a freshman, looking overwhelmed by having the huge role of being a starting PG on a Top25 ranked team as a freshman, without an adequate backup. As the season went on he has become a lot better and his production greatly increased on the court. His team did not make the tournament, though, and had a pretty disappointing year overall. His breakout game was at Louisville where he scored 25 points, had 5 rebounds and 5 assists. He also had a big game against Charlotte on the road where he had 29. However, against a very good defensive player in Carl Krauser early on in the year, Washington only had 7 points at Madison Square Garden. Later against Gilchrist at Maryland he had 9 points. His best game early on in his career came at Texas, where he had he had 23 points and 6 rebounds. Conference USA does not have many outstanding PG's that can match up with Washington athletically, but overall Washington has had some good games against good competition. When he comes back next year, there is no reason he shouldn't dominant on the offensive and even the defensive end at times.


Outlook
Washington is a very talented basketball player from what he has shown so far as a freshman and certainly looks like a great prospect for the NBA as he continues to mature. He is extremely quick with the dribble and has a great first step. If he improves his passing and decision making on the court as well as overall shooting consistency, he will be a very good offensive weapon. In addition, if he picks up his intensity on defense, he will be even more of a complete player.

Washington would be best served to come back to Memphis next year and help his team win games, the best measure of a successful PG. If he has a quality sophomore year he could play possibly work himself into the lottery, or at least the 1st round. The only thing with his game that is a major question is his PG skills, and while that's a huge one at his height, his quickness and ability to penetrate along with an unselfish demeanor should help him develop into a player that can really make his teammates better.


Comments
Athletically, he is one of the most talented PG's in the nation without question. Currently I believe he is the best PG prospect in this year's freshman class. When he is being aggressive, he is as good as getting to the rim as any PG in the NCAA. The challenge for Washington is to work on rounding out his game and become an even more complete player next year.

 


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