Southfield Christian hoops standout talks move to NCAA

By: Edward Zilincik | Southfield Sun | Published May 15, 2018

 Southfield Christian senior Bryce Washington fights through a foul during a 2018 regular-season game. Washington will continue his career at the University of Pennsylvania.

Southfield Christian senior Bryce Washington fights through a foul during a 2018 regular-season game. Washington will continue his career at the University of Pennsylvania.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

SOUTHFIELD — Southfield Christian School shooting guard Bryce Washington has committed to play basketball at the University of Pennsylvania starting this fall.

Following a senior season in which Washington averaged 21 points, eight rebounds and two assists per game, Washington chose Penn over a number of other appealing offers.

Despite seriously weighing offers from Central Michigan University and Iowa’s Drake University, Washington felt the academic and competitive opportunities found in the Ivy League were too enticing to pass up.

Washington finished out his senior season by capturing the Southfield Christian all-time scoring record. Washington was a four-year varsity player with the Eagles.

In addition to putting up outstanding numbers this season, Washington helped lead the team to the Class D state title, the program’s first since 2014.

Southfield Christian coach Josh Baker led the team the entire time Washington was on the roster. Baker has seen Washington mature from a young and talented player into one of the hardest workers on the team and a team leader.

“Bryce is one of the best players I’ve ever coached,” Baker said. “One of the biggest areas of growth was Bryce’s leadership; by his junior and senior seasons, he was winning every sprint, coming to practice early and staying late.”

Washington understood the high standard he was trying to live up to — his older brothers, Brock and Blake, both played at Southfield Christian before him. His parents are Marvin and Demetria Washington.

“There was no trying to outdo my brothers, but it was nice to at least get a title to match them,” Washington said.

Washington did exceed his two older brothers’ scoring output during his time with the Eagles, even though that wasn’t the most important aspect for him during his time at Southfield Christian.

“The scoring record doesn’t mean that much to me, I got it in the flow of the game trying to help my team,” Washington said. “To me, the most important thing was winning the title in my final season. Ending my high school career like that was amazing.”

Baker sees a ton of promise in Washington going forward, but knows there is still a massive amount of work for him to do.

“Bryce has a knack for scoring; he’s fast and explosive in transition, probably the fastest player I’ve ever coached,” Baker said. “He also has a ton of energy, a high motor and plays with a ton of effort.”

In addition to being a Class D basketball champion, Washington is a standout track athlete, having won a state title in the high jump.

“When Bryce gets to Penn, there will definitely be a ton of different offensive actions to learn,” Baker said. “In high school, most teams only run three or four. There will most likely be dozens for each team, so he’s going to need to learn the system and when to cut to the basket.”

Baker feels it’s going to be a great opportunity for Washington and is excited for him going forward. 

Washington is also ready to turn over a new chapter in his life, and he feels he made the right choice with Penn.

“I’m excited to work with coach (Steve) Donahue and a team that made the (NCAA) tournament last season,” Washington said. “I trust the process for the basketball program and also love the educational opportunity I have here.”

Even though Washington is excited, he understands the work he has to do going into the Ivy League next season.

“I can defend really well and I’m fast,” Washington said. “I also can shoot and rebound well, while I’m definitely athletic.

“Overall, I would say that I need to improve on ball handling and strength, but I feel blessed for the opportunity I have at Penn.”