GoldeThe University of Minnesota men's basketball program signed two student-athletes to national letters of intent today. Wesley Washington and Kerry Woolridge will be eligible to begin play for the Golden Gophers in the 2003-04 season.
Washington, a 6-3 guard from Santa Ana, Calif., is a consensus top 100 recruit from Mater Dei High School. As a junior, Washington was named the Player of the Year in the California Interscholastic Federation after leading Mater Dei to a No. 19 final national ranking. Washington became the second non-senior to be named Player of the Year, the other being Miles Simon, in CIF history. He averaged 16.5 points per game and scored 24 points to lead Mater Dei over Oak Hill (Va.), ending Oak Hill's win streak. This season, Mater Dei is ranked as the No. 1 high school team in the country by some publications.
Washington, rated as the No. 48 player in the country by PrepStars.com, is a high honorable mention All-American by Street & Smith's and a top 100 rising senior by Lindy's. Washington scored a team-high 33 points and was named MVP in the Gym Rats Midnight Madness Game earlier this fall in Cherry Hill, N.J. The national all-star game featured several of the top high school prospects in the nation.
"We think Wesley can come in and make an immediate impact on our program," said head coach Dan Monson. "He is very athletic and can play both guard positions. He is the leader of one of the best high school teams in the country and knows how to win. You can't teach that."
Woolridge, a 6-7 small forward from San Leandro, Calif., is rated the 14th-best small forward in the West by prepwesthoops.com. He was also ranked as one of the top 200 players in the country by Athlon. During the summer, Woolridge was named to the all-tournament team at the Desert Shootout in Las Vegas. Woolridge averaged 15 points and seven rebounds as a high school junior and was named all-league in 2001.
"We believe Kerry has a big upside," Monson said. "He is a player that will get better and better the older he gets and the more he plays. He is a very good athlete who will be able to play both forward positions."