Good Enough for Gilas: Jay Washington

2014 is going to be a BIG year for Philippine basketball. This year will mark the first time two of our Philippine National Teams (Men’s and U17) will march onto the world stage and compete at the highest level of international hoops. Our very own Gilas Pilipinas squad will go to Spain and play in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, while the Philippine U17 Team, coached by Jamike Jarin, will troop over to Dubai for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championships. 

It’s been reported that the Gilas Pilipinas brain trust is keen on tapping more players to join the pool, with the magic number pegged at 24. That means that there are still around eleven slots open.

This is the third piece in a series of posts detailing the players who can be part of that pool. For each named individual, we will look at the good things he can bring to the pool, his probable role should he get named to the final Gilas lineup, and the possible match-ups he will have at the Asian and world levels.

Today, we’ll talk about one of someone who has always had the skills but never the opportunity to join the national team — GlobalPort’s versatile power forward, Jay Washington.


Will Jay Washington be named to the 2014
Gilas Pilipinas pool?
(image by Paolo Papa/Sports 5)



What he brings to the table:
Here’s the thing with J-Wash — he’s the epitome of an inside-outside power forward. Though he sometimes plays center for the Batang Pier, the 6’7 Fil-American born in Zambales is really more of an oversized small forward or a power forward who can move like a swingman (whichever you prefer). In this season, for instance, the top overall pick in the 2005 PBA Draft has played and excelled in both positions, putting up awesome numbers in the process.

Washington is averaging better than 19 points, nearly 10 rebounds, and around 1 steal per game. He hits about 1.3 triples per contest and shoots 83.9% from the stripe. His current stats, in fact, indicate that this is his best season in the pros. Why not strike whilst the iron is hot and give him a chance to prove himself in the national pool? I believe coach Chot invited him to join at some point in 2012, and perhaps another one is warranted this year.

Given enough time and proper training, I think Washington might be able to play as many as three positions for Gilas. He’s big enough to play the slot with a speedy, small-ball five, agile enough to play SF against much bigger teams, and, of course, he may also play his natural four spot. With Kelly Williams past his prime (sorry, Machine Gun fans), I believe Jay Washington would be an excellent addition to the national pool.


Why he is a good fit for Gilas: 
Like I said, Washington has a rare combination of size, speed, athleticism, and outside shooting. Even if you remotely know anything about international basketball, then that skill-set (size is not a skill, though) should make you salivate at the prospect of having someone like J-Wash on Gilas. I can already imagine him spotting up off an outlet from Marcus Douthit in the post or a driving LA Tenorio. Filling the lanes on the fastbreak? No problem, too. The former Eckerd College Triton just gives opposing teams so many looks that Gilas is bound to find a mismatch to exploit.


At his best, J-Wash is maybe our finest PF.
(image by Pranz Kaeno Billones/Sports 5)

Potential match-ups:
FIBA-Asia: Mohammad Hadrab (JOR), Erfan Ali Saeed (QAT), Tien Lei (TPE)
FIBA World Cup: Leonardo Gutierrez (ARG), Florent Pietrus (FRA), Anthony Petrie (AUS)

At his best, I really believe Jay Washington can surprise a lot of people and be our best power forward. The big question, of course, is how often does he approximate his best self? Still, the reality is there’s hardly anyone here in the Philippines with the skill-set he has AND the size to boot. He should be able to more than hold his own against the likes of Hadrab, Saeed, and Tien, but I’m sure even he will find it challenging to go up against some of FIBA’s most formidable 4s like the ones mentioned above.

In the next post, we’ll take a look at the Most Valuable Player of the 2012-2013 PBA Season — Arwind Santos.


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7 Comment
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Jay Washington is NOT 6'7". He was officially measured as 6'5" during the predraft camp. He will probably be competing with Ranidel De Ocampo for the 4 spot if ever he is invited.

Balas
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Checked Asia-Basket.com, PBA-Online.net, and his Wikipedia page. Listed at 6'7 in all those. I did, however, also check PBA.Inquirer.net, and he's listed 6'5 1/2 there. I guess we can just peg him at around 6'6? Still, a 6'5-6'6 guy with his skill-set? And performing the way he has been? Should be invited. I agree that he will challenge RDO for the 4 spot.

Balas
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I wouldn't get Jay Washington. He doesn't deliver in the clutch the way RDO does and does not make the other 4 in the team better. He is not multi-dimensional. It's always him. There's too much intangibles we will let go off if Washington's in the game. RDO is team oriented in the sense he is part of the "letting the play develop" in every possession, knows when to drive as a decoy to end up with the drop pass (which worked well with Ping, SoKor knock, knock) or kickout 3 (LA, Jeff Chan, Gabe, etc.), and most of all can knockdown any shot from anywhere. If we let Washington over RDO, good bye to that. Athleticism and skill, Washington has the upside. But smart, team-oriented basketball RDO is lightyears away. RDO knows how to win, Washington doesn't.

Balas
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I think it might be a tad premature to dismiss Washington’s potential contributions so quickly. I remember coach Chot inviting him late in 2012 to join the pool, and I think that’s because coach Chot saw potential in J-Wash. Even if all his “perceived weaknesses” were true, who knows what a couple of months’ worth of training can do? I think that, all things being equal and given the right system (which I think coach Chot already has), then J-Wash can be a solid contributor.

Balas
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I get your point, Enzo. In terms of physique and skills set, Washington has potential. But with ONLY 2 months worth of training, the safer bet or the lower risk of failure is with the battle-tested, RDO. I agree with you though that I was short in taking into account what you said, "right player in the right system". But, again, between the two, using past performance as the basis, which is probably one of the only 2 best available metric we have, RDO over Washington.

Balas
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we badly need washington as a back up for ranidel in case anything unexpected happens.

Balas
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JayWash couldn't knock down his jumpers vs Taiwan (2014 FIBA Asia Cup)...but he still adds that size&versatility to the forward rotation. Does he still have a chance to be the 12th man?

Balas