Eastern Michigan men's basketball team adds two, including local 6-10 center, in recruiting class
Pete Schoch knew he had a potential Division I center when Darren Washington became part of his Father Gabriel Richard boys basketball team last year.
On Wednesday, Washington made it official.
The 6-foot-10 center signed a national letter of intent with Eastern Michigan, joining Caledonia guard Paul TenHarmsel as the two members of the Eagles' 2011 recruiting class.
For Eastern Michigan coach Charles Ramsey, attracting in-state talent was a big plus for a team looking to contend for a Mid-American Conference West Division title this season.
"We are very excited to get two of the two top seniors in the state of Michigan in this recruiting class," Ramsey said in a statement issued Wednesday. "Darren Washington and Paul TenHarmsel are both outstanding young men who are only going to continue to get better as their basketball careers continue."
Schoch can attest to that.
Washington played just half the season last year after transferring to Gabriel Richard from Detroit Southwestern. In 12 games, Washington - who also considered Cleveland State - averaged 8.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
Over the summer, though, Washington has become a more complete post presence, improving his footwork and ability to deal with contact in the post. He is still growing.
AnnArbor.com file photo
Washington verbally committed to Ramsey over the summer, e-mailing Ramsey a picture of him standing in front of an Eastern Michigan flag at his father's Belleville home. Washington said at the time that staying close to home to continue his basketball career made choosing to play for the the Eagles a logical choice.
"Eastern got a steal," Schoch said Wednesday night. "He's going to be a terrific college player. He's got the kind of work ethic coaches at the next level will love. He's a kid that's always trying to learn and has a humble attitude.
"But you're going to see a much more finished product (this season) and a more much complete post player. He's come a long way."
TenHarmsel, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, averaged nine points and two rebounds as a junior at Caledonia, but is expected to show much more during his final season.
Eastern Michigan, which opens the regular season Friday at No. 2 Michigan State, will likely have room for both next season. The Eagles' top returning scorer Brandon Bowdry along with wings Will Cooper and Jay Higgins are both entering their senior seasons with the Eagles.
The Eagles finished 17-15 last season.