Basketball: Washington joins Sayno Classic squad

Curtis Washington might be the least heralded of the six Trojans signees playing in this summer's five-week Nike Sayno Classic, held at the Hangar Athletic Xchange in Hawthorne.

A lanky 210-pounder, Washington has a sinewy glide to his game -- but not as sinewy as 6-foot-6 Garrett Jackson or 6-5 Bryce Jones, both fellow 2010 signees playing for Salvatori's Squad over the summer.

At 6-9, Washington is athletic and can jump -- but not as high as 7-foot center DeWayne Dedmon, a juco transfer who will suit up for USC in 2011.

Washington is savvy in his actions on the court -- but not as savvy as 6-6 "banger" Aaron Fuller, a transfer from Iowa who will also sit out 2010 but practice with the team.

You get the point? Washington, a native of Kentucky, is unlikely to play significant time this season for coach Kevin O'Neill's Trojans -- but he could in the future, as O'Neill thinks of him as a late bloomer of sorts.

His story qualifies; Washington left his high school team during a January game and didn't return for the rest of the season. He finished his senior year, then, averaging only eight points and 7.6 rebounds a game. Last week's Sayno games were the first real action Washington had logged since then.

With Jackson and Jones, the team of USC signees has two players who are unafraid to create their own shot and do so often, meaning the ball rarely gets to Washington anywhere around the key.

But when it does, it's not hard to see flashes of an eventual contributor for the Trojans. Washington can pass, a evidenced by two big fourth-quarter finds of Fuller and Dedmon under the hoop in Saturday's loss for easy buckets.

He can run the floor well and is a fairly intimidating presence at the power forward position for the college level.

Yes, his offensive game is very, very undeveloped. But O'Neill knows this, and Washington knows this.

And that's the important thing.

"It's been a lot of fun — meeting all the guys, playing with them, it's a lot of hard work," Washington said after Saturday's game. "Playing out here in the Sayno, they're all real advanced. I'm not that confident in my game yet."

"I just feel like I'm way behind," he continued. "But as we start playing together and stuff, I'm just gonna get better and better. It should be good."

Here's a video interview with the forward, including his astute assessments of each of his future teammates and a very unforgiving assessment of his own game: