It may seem like forever ago that Cincinnati landed transfer forward Kyle Washington but that is just the nature of the transfer market, which dictates that a player must sit out a year before contributing. After sitting on the bench during the 2015-16 season, Washington can rise up once again and begin his run with the Bearcats. Its a run that should be paved with plenty of success.
Washington is a former top 100 recruit who played across two seasons with NC State before deciding to move on. A lack of playing time may have been the major reason, as despite playing in 70 games with the Wolfpack, he never averaged more than 20 minutes per game. The 6’9” forward will not have to worry about playing time with Cincinnati, as he projects as a starting forward along with Gary Clark, essentially replacing the giant hole in the lineup left by Octavius Ellis.
As a sophomore with NC State, Washington scored 6.8 points per game and was relatively efficient, connecting on 46.7 percent of his shots from the floor. He also collected 4.1 rebounds per game and, despite being a reserve, blocked more than a shot a contest. He scored in double figures eight times as a sophomore and recorded a pair of double-doubles as well.
If you project his production from that season over 40 minutes per game, you’re looking at a guy putting up 15.3 points. 9.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. Now, he won’t be playing 40 minutes each game, but even if he can get in range of those numbers (14 points, eight boards and two blocks would do nicely) he will easily be one of the best players for the cause.
Diving a bit deeper into Washington’s numbers, you’ll find a player who improved greatly from his freshman to sophomore season. He managed a miserable offensive rating in 2013-14 (90.6) and wasn’t much better on defense (106.1). In his second year on campus he improved as an offensive weapon (103.1 offensive rating) and posted a PER of 17.8, more than twice what he recorded as a freshman. He also accounted for 1.8 win shares as a reserve sophomore.
As for the defensive side of things, which is important for anyone that wants to play for Mick Cronin, Washington whittled his defensive rating down to 99.3 as a sophomore. He also has shown plenty of skill in protecting the paint, which will be something Cronin will need from guys like him as well as new bigs like Nysier Brooks and Tre Scott.
What this all means is a lot is expected of Washington this year, but you’d have to imagine that’s just fine with him. He came to UC looking to play more and produce and if he continues the trajectory he began at NC State, he will be a major contributor for the Bearcats.