P R E P S C E N E had an opportunity to sit down with Quaker Valley senior and recent Drexel University commit Coletrane Washington. At 6-5, 170 lbs – Coletrane is a homebody who enjoys spending time with his family. Throughout the interview family and home was a common theme. He has an affection and gratitude toward his family, that was obvious from the moment we began our discussion. Off the court he enjoys spending time with his brother and sisters. He attends all of their games. He even indicated that he gets more nervous on their game-days than his own. This season is big for Coletrane, not because it is his senior year but because as he says “My oldest sister, Corinne (15) is a freshman, so I am looking forward to catching as many of her games as I can before I leave for school, along with keeping up with the twins activities Zack, Zora, (10). When Coletrane is not at home or with his siblings, there is only one other place you will find him, and that is in the gym working on his craft.
Much like our other OVERTIME interviews, Coletrane is laying out his blueprint for younger student-athletes looking to obtain an athletic scholarship. He was excited about the opportunity to speak to kids across the country through this blog. He understands there are no secrets or gimmicks to success in basketball or Life. He hasn’t reinvented the wheel, Coletrane has modeled his own life after others who have accomplished aquiring scholarships and athletic-stardom before him. He has found inspiration in, and emulated the work-ethic and best practices of greats like Lebron James. Don’t think that the kid known for that “wettest jump shot” in Pittsburgh, put “jumper” on his Christmas list and that sweet stroke just appeared under his tree. You will not meet a more disciplined, hard working and dedicated student-athlete. Repetition and hours with his father, Jesse Washington helped to perfect his shooting form…But trust me he is more than just a pure-shooter. How did he transform his game from a “shooter” to an all-around triple double threat, able to score from all three levels. Keep reading and you will see why!
Congratulations on signing with The Dragons, what led you to pick Drexel University.
I Grew up 20 minutes from Drexel in the Drexel Hill area of the city. I love Philadlephia, Pittsburgh is where I live, its a great place but Philly is home…I just loved the area. I still have family and friends in there… Also, the coaching staff is amazing from Coach Spiker on down – They were very honest and open with me from the beginning of the recruiting process. Definitely took the time to get to know me as a person. I love their style of play… It’s the way I have always played …Uptempo fast paced, running…you have to be in shape… A lot of emphasis on defense…. Quality shots early in the shot clock… getting up and down. I love it!
If you could only pick one, what is the single most influential factor that positioned you to receive a Division I scholarship.
“The first thing is my books, books always came first with my parents, I am thankful for that because I was able to sign with such a great academic university in Drexel. Just to be eligible for a scholarship, you have to have good grades. A lot of kids get too caught up on the basketball side of things and forget about the academics but definitely the academics has to come first.”
When was it that you fell in love with this game?
“As long as I can remember it was my dream to become a college basketball player and see how far I could take basketball in life. My Dad, was the first person I ever started working out with. He supported my dream from day one. He told me “if I wanted to do this, I have to work hard, I had to use everyday to get better as a player and person.” He was the first person, I ever started working with and I still work with him to this day…We are always working out together. ”
How did you manage to maintain academic and athletic success at the same time?
“I put my books before ball always, learned good time management skills early… If I have a study hall, I use that time to actually focus on my work. As Student-Athletes looking to excel in college, we shouldn’t be on our phones during study hall… Being a student-athlete just in high school is difficult, juggling everything… but we need to develop a strong foundation now because college will be more intense with added practice, travel demands and games. Everything just bumps up to a new level, so you have to form and develop those good habits before you get to college, start practicing good study habits, getting yourself into routines… balancing your time… plan out your days now, so you are ready for the grueling lifestyle of a Division I basketball player. Study, eat, practice, study film… you just have to plan out your day.”
Yes, I was taught at an early age, to put technology to the side and not allow it to distract me from my goals. Take care of business before you engage in any form of social media. Sometimes you have to flip the phone on silent, put it on “Do Not Disturb” and get this work done for an hour, hour and half. And then when your done…Check it, talk to your friends…your’e always going to have time to do that…There is enough downtime…but you have to learn…If you really want to pursue a college scholarship, you are going to have to sacrifice some of your me time. You cant talk about this, that and the third…You have to be in the gym or doing your homework when your peers are on Snap, if you want to separate yourself.
What have you done Athletically to position yourself to be at able to attend Drexel on an athletic scholarship?
“Hmmm… staying patient through the process, trusting the process really.”
What is this process we hear so much about nowadays?
“Working hard no matter what. The process just describes the hard work. It’s the slow cooker vs the microwave. Trusting the process is trusting the time and effort your spending is worth it. I didn’t really get recruited that much until later, like last summer is when I really started to peak some Division I interest. I would say don’t get discouraged if you’re not getting the looks you want, just keep working, keeping grinding, that hard work is always gonna’ pay off. Keep working, never get discouraged… Hard work is always going to show.. you don’t have to tell people you’re doing this or you’re doing that. A lot of people will put in that fake work, just enough to get a picture for the Gram or a 10 second Snap… The process doesn’t lie, your game will always reflect the work you invest. Don’t focus on exposure, if your’e under the radar and not noticed…Focus on what you can control… Focus on the process not the outcome, put in the hard work, keep working hard an trust the process will produce outcomes even when the outcomes you want aren’t in sight yet. When its all said and done, your game will always speak for itself!!! “
That’s pretty powerful advice. What kept you focused on the process of self improvement, when time was running out… you’re entering your senior year with limited Division I interest and no offers?
My Bridge City, AAU coaches definitely helped me through this process a lot Nate Perry and Tom Droney. They definitely motivated me, especially through those times when I wasn’t getting the looks and I was just plowing away, working hard. Getting better everyday. Improving my first step, finishes at the rim, defense. They would encourage me to keep working hard, keep at it and it will come and eventually it did, so again you just have to trust the work you are putting in. I consider myself a little slept on as a player…
Tell me how you were feeling as the months passed, others around you were committing to schools, did you ever begin to doubt the process?
“Probably two years ago, I wasn’t really getting recruited much…Couple Division II’s but no I’s… Junior year I had some Division I interest but no offers. Colleges were waiting to see how I played on the circuit. We even thought about a year of prep school but it became internal motivation for me, allowed me to play with a huge chip on my shoulder this summer…When it didn’t look like it was going to happen. My family and coaches kept me grounded “in controlling getting better”. My confidence never wavered. Even if it took me an extra year, the belief in myself and the chip on your shoulder was going to get me a Division I scholarship. I knew the work I was putting in and I knew the caliber of individuals that were investing their time in my development. You have to use, not getting the looks you want as an advantage. Between Nate, Tom, & Derek Clark, my school trainer… we just kept weight training, improving my flexibility, agility, stretching regiments…They just kept working with me the past two years on expanding my skills. Their belief in me just gave me a bigger chip on my shoulder that propelled me to get where I am. I went at everyone that was getting D-I attention to prove I was better. Went Harder, Worked Harder! “
Okay, you just decided to attend Drexel…Tell me how you were feeling at that moment?
Happy, excited, like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders… knowing that I had worked extremely hard to get to this point… That I had accomplished one of my main goals in life up until this point… But it quickly turned to, I have to work even harder now. I have to work 10x harder… I know being successful at the next level will take even more hard work than it took to get there. With each jump in levels requires blood, sweat, and tears. So now I am just working on getting my weight up to 180-185, getting stronger, lifting…eating like an elite athlete. This will get my body ready for college when I step on campus… Working on getting my handle tighter. I’m only 6-5… So I was recruited as a possible combo, I’ll mostly be at the two but if I am asked to run the one I have to be ready to facilitate the offense.
What are some Goals you have for the upcoming season?
Team Goals, definitely to win the WPIAL Championship, we lost in title game last season so winning the WPIAL, we have a lot of pieces back so make another deep state run, we lost in the Final Four. So we want to go even farther this season. Then individually, I want to help my team by averaging a double-double, be more imposing rebounding the ball and record a few triple doubles this season.
Best of luck to you this season and PREP SCENE looks forward to following your career at Quaker Valley, and then at Drexel.