Jenks guard Jessica Washington named to McDonald's All-American team
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Friday, February 15, 2013
2/15/13 at 7:01 AM
Jessica Washington realized one dream in November when she signed to play college basketball at the University of North Carolina.
On Thursday, the Jenks High standout realized another when she was named to the McDonald's All-American team.
"I was thrilled to see my name on the screen because something I've always dreamed of being is a McDonald's All-American," she said.
ESPNU announced the 24 boys and 24 girls who will compete in the annual all-star games, April 3 at the United Center in Chicago.
Washington has actually known about her selection for two weeks. She and her family were notified by letter, but were requested to keep it hushed so that ESPNU could make the announcement on television, according to her father, Travis Washington.
How did she feel when she first heard the news?
"I was shocked because when I saw all the people who were nominated, it was like 800 people from all across the country, so I feel truly blessed," she said.
But few have Washington's credentials. She is rated the No. 14 senior nationally in ESPN's HoopGurlz recruiting rankings. She earned a spot on the USA Basketball Women's U17 team last summer and competed in the World Championships in Europe.
She also has been chosen to play in the WBCA All-American game on April 6, part of Final Four weekend in New Orleans.
Washington becomes the 12th Oklahoman to receive McDonald's All-American honors, and the fourth female. The others were Earnesia Williams (2005) and Alyssia Brewer (2008) of Sapulpa and Richa Jackson of Midwest City (2010).
Jenks coach Mandy Nightingale said Washington has worked hard to put herself in position to receive such honors.
"Everybody sees how hard she works on the floor in games, but the surprising thing is that she works just as hard in practice," Nightingale said. "She'll come into our practices and then go back to the gym later with her dad for extra work on shooting and ball-handling. It's like she's doing two-a-days."
Said Washington: "Nothing comes easy and you have to work for everything you get. I want to be the best, and there are so many great players with more talent than I have, so I need to be able to work harder. You have to work to be successful."
She thanked her father, teammates, Nightingale and "the support I receive from so many people. Without them, I wouldn't be able to do anything."
The 5-foot-8 Washington is projected as a point guard at the next level, but she has been a scoring machine this season, averaging 22.8 points per game, along with 7.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
She scored a career-high 51 points in an 83-68 win at Muskogee on Jan. 4, 38 points in a 66-49 win over Union on Jan. 29, and has scored 20 or more in all but two games this season.
Washington joins two future Tar Heel teammates in the McDonald's game. Diamond DeShields of Norcross, Ga., and Stephanie Mavunga of Brownsburg, Ind., will play for the East squad while Washington will play for the West.
"That's awesome because we're already planning to do big things in college. For us to get this early start together is huge," she said.
Washington practiced with her Jenks teammates through ESPNU's Thursday telecast, but later watched a pre-recorded version in the home of friend and teammate Emily Dennis, sidelined since December with a knee injury.
Jenks guard Jessica Washington is the fourth Oklahoma female player and 12th overall from the Sooner State to receive McDonald's All-American honors. McDonald's will host the 36th annual boys all-star game and 12th girls game on April 3 at Chicago's United Center.
Year: Player, school
1982: Wayman Tisdale, B.T. Washington
1987: Mike Maddox, Putnam North
1988: Lee Mayberry, Rogers
1989: Jeff Webster, Carl Albert
1997: Ryan Humphrey, B.T. Washington
2003: J.R. Giddens, OKC Marshall
2005: Earnesia Williams (g), Sapulpa
2007: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma Christian
2008: Alyssia Brewer (g), Sapulpa
2009: Xavier Henry, Putnam City
2010: Richa Jackson (g), Midwest City
2012: Jessica Washington (g), Jenks
Original Print Headline: Jenks guard is named to top team
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