With this being the eighth week of “You’re Nuts!”, Connor and Justin are starting to actually go Nuts. So as the weeks go along, these answers might get nuttier and nuttier. We have to stay on script, right?
Anywho, last week we debated who had the most potential in the long lost class of 2015. Justin said JaQuan Lyle and Connor said AJ Harris.
The public made it known who they thought had the most potential, as Justin and Lyle won with 80% (97) votes while “the other three” came in second with 13% (16) votes and Connor and Harris finished third with 7% (8) votes. Looks like Ohio State fans were excited to see JaQuan Lyle. Oh well. So here are the current results as the day stands:
After 8 weeks
(Two weeks ago was a tie, another week the “third” option won)
Let’s move on to this weeks question.
Today’s Question: What was the best game of Duane Washington Jr.’s career?
It has been an interesting week around college sports, and for Ohio State Hoops fans, it probably was not the news you wanted to hear. Ohio State junior and 1,000 point scorer Duane Washington has elected to keep his name in the NBA draft and end his career at Ohio State.
Entering the offseason, when E.J. Liddell and Washington decided to enter the draft and test the NBA waters, it seemed more likely that Washington would return and Liddell might be gone. However, as Liddell struggled at the NBA G-League Elite Camp and Washington excelled, those roles quickly flipped.
With Washington heading to the draft, we at Land-Grant Holy Land decided it was only right to honor his career as a certified bucket-getter with this question. So let’s see what our two Ohio State basketball czars picked.
Connor’s pick: 2021 Big Ten Tournament vs Illinois (March 14)
Truthfully, you could pick any game from last season’s Big Ten Tournament run, because Washington carried the Buckeyes that entire week. He averaged 23 points per game over that four-game stretch, with the fifth-seeded Buckeyes falling to second-seeded Illinois 91-88 in overtime in the Big Ten Tournament final. That final game was his best showing in the B1G tournament, and his best game as a Buckeye.
Ohio State entered the Big Ten Tournament on the heels of four consecutive losses, which didn’t inspire too much confidence from anyone. In fact, Ohio State’s path in the tournament (Minnesota, Purdue, Michigan, Illinois) squared them up with four teams who they went a combined 1-5 against during the regular season; they were 17-4 against all other teams up until that point.
Washington went bonkers in the first three games, scoring 16, 20, and 24 in those contests respectively. With Kyle Young out for the season with his second concussion in a month, every member of the team needed to play their absolutely best ball against Illinois to pull off the upset.
Ohio State’s resident flamethrower responded with the best game of his career, scoring 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting — a career high. His 12 made baskets tied his season high, and he also was 50% from beyond the arc (5-10). He played 40 minutes, second to only Justice Sueing’s 42, as the game went to overtime and the Buckeyes ended up playing 45 total minutes. Washington Jr. also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds, which also represented a season-high for him at the time (he had 10 rebounds against Oral Roberts in the NCAA Tournament).
Give it everything we’ve got‼️ pic.twitter.com/Lf7oVhakFi— Ohio State Hoops (@OhioStateHoops) March 14, 2021
Not only were the overall numbers good, but he did it in a game where the Buckeyes fell behind early and were on the brink of being ran off the court. Without Washington Jr. on the floor, Ohio State probably loses this game by 10-15 points, easily. But every time Illinois began to extend their lead, “Wiz” had an answer. His buckets not only kept his team in the game literally, but kept his teammates heads up as they battled an overpowering offensive unit in the Fighting Illini.
While the Buckeyes did ultimately lose the game, the contest wouldn’t have gone to overtime — or even been close — if Washington Jr. didn’t decide to be Superman that day, just like he had been all week long. Illinois was absolutely making him their main priority on defense, but the now-former Buckeye simply did not care. Season-highs in points, made shots and rebounds, all the while carrying his undermanned team to within one bucket of a Big Ten Championship.
If that isn’t his best game ever, I don’t know what was.
Justin’s pick: 2021 regular season vs Michigan (February 21)
I keep closing the gap on Connor. Honestly, I expect that trend to end pretty soon.
Personally, I think next week we should do “What was Duane Washington Jr’s best hairstyle?” But I digress.
As Connor mentioned, when it comes to Washington, you could probably look at any game he had in last year’s Big Ten Tournament. Washington was a leader, he was powerful and a straight up hooper throughout those four games. However, I am going to pick what was maybe the best offensive game of the season in the Big Ten.
On Feb. 21, Ohio State hosted Michigan for the only time in the regular season and suffice to say, fireworks proceeded.
Michigan came out on top 92-87 as ultimately the Buckeyes could not get enough stops on the defensive end, but it was an awesome game as both offenses were clicking on all cylinders; and as usual, nobody was clicking more than Duane Washington Jr.
Washington had 30 points on 12-for-18 shooting, he was 5-for-10 from three point range and had three assists to just one turnover. Washington put the team on his back in this one and kept them step-for-step with the 16-1 Wolverines. It was one of those game where whenever he caught the ball, he was lethal from anywhere on the floor.
This game stands out because it was against one of the best teams in the country and OSU’s archrival. Also, many Buckeyes struggled to get going in this one and Washington knew he had to be Superman for them to have a chance to win, and he was.
We saw this a lot from Washington throughout the season, as he hit the 30-point mark twice and the 20-point mark 10 times throughout the season. He also improved in almost every single statistical metric from his freshman and sophomore seasons to his junior season.
There were plenty of times where Washington decided to step up and put the team on his shoulders, including most of the Big Ten Tournament, but this one against That Team Up North stands out above the rest.
He will be greatly missed as a Buckeye and he has been so much fun to watch, but the NBA is an opportunity that you simply can’t pass up. Best of luck, Duane.
What was the best game of Duane Washington Jr.’s career?
This poll is closed
Illinois in the 2021 BTT (Connor)
Michigan regular season matchup 2021 (Justin)
A different game