As the saying goes, “Everything is bigger in Texas,” and that suits Cal State Bakersfield men’s basketball coach Rod Barnes just fine.
Barnes put that quote to work this week, adding much-seeded size to the future Roadrunners with the commitment of 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Brian Washington as part of Wednesday’s National Signing Day on Wednesday.
"We are excited to announce the signing of Brian Washington," said Barnes in a news release. "He is an athletic forward who plays with a lot of toughness and grit.”
Heading into his sophomore season at Navarro Community College in Corisicana, Texas, Washington had considerable interest among several Division I schools. A highly-regarded student-athlete, Washington's talents drew strong interest from several Power 5 schools. He is set to join CSUB for the 2021-22 season.
“He is an elite-level rebounder and defensive player,” Barnes said. “Brian has a very high IQ and he impacts the game in so many ways."
Washington shot 68.6 percent from the floor while averaging 7.6 points, nine rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots during a 32-game freshman season last year for coach Grant McMillan’s Region XIV Tournament semifinalist.
He recorded five double-doubles, including a 13-point, 16-rebound game against Jacksonville College. He hit double-figure scoring 11 times and recorded 13 double-figure rebound games.
"Everyone speaks highly of his character and how well he gets along with his teammates and coaches,” Barnes said. “Brian is getting excellent coaching from Grant McMillan and Cody Hopkins at Navarro College, which plays in one of the best Junior College conferences in the country. This is a great start to another successful recruiting class.”
Washington's offensive efficiency makes a big difference in the paint as the forward posted a field goal percentage of .500 or better in 29 of 32 games played.
A native of Kailua, Hawai'i, Washington and his family have been on the mainland for a few years. He lived in Nevada and attended Cimarron Memorial High School before spending a prep year with Nation Wide Academy in Oklahoma.
Washington will finish out his junior college career with Navarro in 2020-21 before coming to CSUB, which is due to start its inaugural season in the Big West Conference.
It’s been a busy past few weeks for the Roadrunners. The Big West unveiled its conference schedule on Oct. 21, with the back-to-back games scheduled for Dec. 27-28 against UC Davis at the Icardo center.
Last week, Barnes added former Grand Canyon assistant Chris Crevelone to his staff, replacing Jeff Conarroe who took the head coaching position at Colorado College in May.
CSUB was predicted to finish seventh in the Big West in a media poll released this week. Defending conference champion UC Irvine is the pre-season favorite to repeat, followed by UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, Hawaii, UC Riverside, Long Beach State and the Roadrunners. Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly were picked to finish eighth through 10th, respectively.
The ’Runners return eight players from last year’s squad that finished 12-19 and 6-10 in WAC play, including seven seniors that received significant playing time: centers Ronne Readus and Shawn Stith, guards Taze Moore, De’Monte Buckingham and Czar Moore, and forwards Justin McCall and Justin Edler-Davis. Reserve junior forward Jack Schoemann also returns.