Christian Academy of Louisville basketball coach Aaron Hill heard murmurings about a new high school hoops star in the area as soon as George Washington III’s family came to town in the summer of 2020.
Washington’s AAU reputation preceded him, and Hill said he clicked with the incoming sophomore right away when he toured the school, one of several his family looked at in Louisville. It didn’t take long before Hill felt Washington’s talent warranted the attention of a Division I college program, and he just so happened to have a few mutual friends with Ohio State assistant coach Ryan Pedon.
“I reached out to him very early on whenever George showed up on campus here last year, and I just said, ‘Hey man, I know you’re at Ohio State now and you’re in coaching, I think this kid can be very special and he’s just different. You guys should take a look at him,’” Hill told Eleven Warriors. “It took maybe a couple of films and next thing you know he’s calling me and they started recruiting him right away.”
Pedon liked what he saw in a player that Hill compares to NBA guards Jamal Murray and Devin Booker, and on June 15, the Buckeyes became the first program to offer Washington. Since then, the 6-foot-2 combo guard has soared quickly up the recruiting rankings, where he currently sits as a four-star prospect and the No. 45 overall recruit in the class of 2023, per the 247Sports composite.
Washington is set to make his second unofficial visit to Ohio State this weekend, and Hill said Buckeye head coach Chris Holtmann was at Christian Academy bright and early this past Tuesday to watch Washington work out ahead of his visit.
“Coach Pedon and I, we’ve had great conversations throughout the past year or so. I think highly of him and what he’s done as far as his recruitment of George and how they approached it, and I think it’s intentional and I think he’s done a fantastic job with it,” Hill said. “And coach Holt getting involved too, these players love seeing the head coach there. You know, coach Holt showing up at 6 a.m. to a Tuesday morning workout, I think that’s a very good step in the right direction for them as well.”
But the Buckeyes are far from the only program interested in Washington. Hill said Washington’s recruitment is “still pretty wide open,” and listed Louisville, Tennessee, Cincinnati and Arkansas among the schools that have been recruiting Washington the hardest along with Ohio State.
Washington visited Tennessee on Sept. 11 and spent last weekend with the Louisville program. Hill said Washington also plans on making visits to Liberty and Memphis, among other schools, but that he will likely make official visits to three programs in 2022.
“Whenever G knows where he wants to be, I think that he would commit. If something just sticks out and he’s like, ‘Man, I want to be here no matter what.’ Until then, I think that we’re gonna continue to go through the process, doing the research, doing the homework,” Hill said. “I could see him possibly looking to maybe take three official visits next year – if he hasn’t committed yet to somewhere – and just go on three good official visits and get those schools together and try to make a decision some time next year around this time.”
Hill said the early connection Ohio State formed with Washington has gone a long way, and Hill thinks Washington could play either guard position in the Buckeyes’ system.
“He’s told me he loves the campus, he loves the environment there, he’s had great conversations with coach Holt and coach Pedon, and he really has a great relationship that’s been built with coach Pedon,” Hill said. “They were the first one to offer him, and that speaks volumes to a kid and a player that’s in high school. They bought in and believed in him first, and I think that’s important to him. So they’re gonna continue to build off of that.
“I think the style of play fits him very well, and I think they love the fact that he can play point for them, but he can also move to the two a little bit if they have another point to come in. They think he can probably get in there and play early and contribute early, and I think that’s very appealing to him.”
The son of a former Texas women’s basketball assistant coach, Washington has the ability to shoot the ball “probably better than just about anybody in the country,” Hill said, while adding that he is also a high-character kid with a 4.1 GPA.
Hill said Washington established himself as a vocal leader at the Christian Academy of Louisville on the very first day of practice at his new school last year. Hill said Washington’s next steps are getting stronger and working on his rebounding, but said the highly touted recruit works on his game with multiple trainers even outside of his high school workouts.
Hill called Washington “the complete package,” and it’s clear from the amount of attention he’s gotten from Ohio State recruiters that the program agrees with that assessment.
“Holt’s a great guy, he’s made it clear that G is a top priority for them for the 2023 class, and just keeps building that relationship with them,” Hill said. “Coach Pedon’s done a great job already too, and they’re just excited for the opportunity to have G back on campus this weekend and just keep building.”