OVERTIME with COLETRANE WASHINGTON

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?

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“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.”

Great advice,

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?

Quaker Valley's Coletrane Washington

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?

Cole_Drex

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.

Thank you

OVERTIME with JAKE FORRESTER

P R E P   S C E N E  had an opportunity to sit down with Westtown senior and recent Indiana University commit Jake Forrester.  His journey, for younger student-athletes looking to obtain an athletic scholarship, is a blueprint worth emulating.    Young kids looking for a role model may never reach Jake’s height or possess his athleticism but what makes Jake great is much deeper than physical attributes and basketball skills.

At 6-10, not only can Jake fill up a room with his imposing frame, but his personality and humility are bigger than life.  You will not meet a more humble and grounded high major basketball star across the globe.  As ferocious as he attacks the rim in traffic, posterizing his opponents with total disregard; off the court he is the complete opposite.  His friendly smile radiates warmth, empathy, and confidence.  Within moments of speaking with Jake, you realize his trajectory from the obscure lanky kid at Central Dauphin High School in Harrisburg, PA to one of the most sought after recruits in the Nation was no accident.  His laser focus, attention to detail and ability to make others feel important are qualities every college coach in the nation picked up on instantly.  It was former Indiana head coach Tom Crean who offered Jake last summer.  However, new hire Archie Miller (Pride of Beaver Falls) knew he needed Jake to be a Hoosier after only a few seconds of speaking with him.  Keep reading and you will see why!   

First off congratulations on making it official, joining the Indiana Hoosier family

Thank you

What were some of the keys to you reaching this point in your life, positioning you, inspiring you to excel? 

Jake IndianaWell my mom and dad.  They assisted in so many ways, too much to mention unless you have all day.  As far as inspiring… especially my dad definitely… He is one of my life’s biggest inspirations,  His journey and knowledge, the path that he took in the basketball world, (Jake’s Father, Dwight played under John Chaney at Temple University in the 1980’S) the things he had to do and how he came up.  I take a lot of those lessons as my foundation from him.  I also do a lot of reading, I take a lot from books… lessons, inspirations, I have this book in my room now by Gandhi.  I constantly pick that up.  He teaches me to not lose my head, basically when things are getting tough to keep your cool.  Just that one little book has taught me so much, so many lessons… having a sense of humor, quality of your work, patience!!!  I definitely take that to the fullest.  

If there was one piece of basketball advice you could give a rising freshman looking to follow your journey toward obtaining a scholarship and playing college basketball what would it be? 

“Hmmm…that runs pretty deep.  Usually kids will want to base their games… offensive moves off of the best players you can find in the NBA and college basketball.  That can be a good thing, but usually not.  They aren’t ready to emulate them yet.  They haven’t developed the fundamentals to master those moves…What you can do is look at players that you see and look at the role they play on their team and understand that being a star in your role will get you to the next level.  You can emulate the killer instincts they posses, the drive, determination and work-ethic of a superstar before you can perform their moves.  The moves and finishes will come with hard work its a process.”

That is great advice, definitely…

“Yes, Be yourself, work hard and “Be a STAR in your ROLE!””Jake Forrester at Trinity

How about a piece of non-basketball advice you followed that might assist them in reaching their goal of playing college ball?

“You have to pick a good school, and I felt from the day I arrived at Westtown, I picked a great Prep School.  You have to take the time to research, the decision is too important to waste a year of high school trying to figure it out.  You don’t want to go to a school and its not a good fit.  You want to go to a school that has a quality academic and athletic program.  Westtown has been around since 1799, so the academic standards are strong, they are big on academics, you want to choose a school that’s big on academics so colleges know your serious about becoming part of their educational community and want to learn new things. 

The Basketball program is pretty good at Westtown too, did that weigh on your decision to attend at all?

Absolutely, coming to Westtown, was a great decision… playing with guys like Mo Bamba, (Texas), Cam (Reddish, Duke Commit), and Brandon (Randolph, Arizona),and Tone (Anthony Ochefu, Stony Brook) last year – they all taught me so much.  Mo Bamba taught me the most, practicing with him and how hard he worked to become a lottery draft pick, I see him going in the top 3 next year.  Playing against him everyday made me better, I learned everyday…He pushed me.  Its my time now to translate those lessons and instill that work-ethic into the young guys that are here.

Westtown has provided you with a well-rounded experience, what are somethings away from campus you enjoy?

 jAKE-COMMUNITYBeing well rounded is important, I’m also very competitive in my studies   Doing well in the classroom is a mindset.  Being around like minded individuals with similar goals.  That has been the biggest blessing.  Surround yourself with people headed in your direction.  I enjoy being in the community, I get emails, instagram DM’s, texts and Twitter notifications from parents “I want you to come”… “It would be great if you could come to my son’s party”… or a coach asking, “can you come to talk to my team,” …take pictures…ect.  Its important to me to always be involved with the community around me.  Be nice to everyone, bring smiles to peoples faces.

 What was it like signing on the dotted line, to know your going to don the Crimson and Cream for the Indiana Hoosiers?

“I can’t believe it, its hard to imagine all the hard work and sweat throughout my journey got me to this point.  I worked very hard and with my parents support actually reached one of my dreams.  This is just the beginning, I have a lot to prove.” 

You just signed with one of the most respected college basketball programs in the country , things to prove?

 “Yea, without a doubt, I have to prove I can be a leader on the court, I have to prove that I can actually put in the work to win Big 10 Freshman of the Year in 18 months.  A whole bunch left to prove.  That I can knock down open jump shots, I have to prove that I can put the ball on the floor consistently. There is still a lot of things I have to work on and polish in my game.  That’s all part of the process and that’s definitely something I am going to work on. 

What specifically have you been working on this week to prepare for the upcoming season and to play college basketball next season? 

“I am definitely just trying to work on my mid-post game my high post game and my facing the basket post game.  That’s just me trying to be a “star” in my role.  Setting good screens and rolling to the basket, pick and pop all that stuff.  I am improving daily.”

What are some goals you have for yourself this upcoming season?

Win the Friends League Championship, State Championship – head to head vs Zion Williamson, Oak Hill, possibly if we win opening round, IMG, it will be really good to win some of those national games also.

 How about for just you personally?

“Become a well-rounded player and get ready for Indiana is the biggest goal for myself.”

In 5 years. you see yourself where in a perfect world? 

“NBA without a doubt.” 

Kids looking up to you, should know what… If we made a movie today about your childhood what would the theme be?

 

Jake Forrester and Micah Parsons

“My life definitely proves that hard work and determination can make your dreams a reality.  Changing everything around you for the better works.  The impact change can have on your life.   I have a dream and with the support of my family I am able to position myself with a real chance to obtain it one day…  All because I embraced change.”