SOUTH HOLLAND — In what is becoming an annual tradition, South Suburban has the national player of the year in NJCAA Division II.
NJCAA officials on Friday announced the latest honor for sophomore guard Deshawndre Washington, who led the nation in scoring at 27.0 points per game. He also was among the leaders in rebounding (13.6 per game, second), blocks (2.8 per game, tied for second) and steals (2.7 per game, tied for third).
Previously, Washington was named Region IV Player of the Year, Midwest District Tournament MVP, first-team All-American and landed a spot on the national championship all-tournament team,
Washington, who won an IHSA state championship at Morgan Park, is the second straight Bulldog to win the award and the fourth in the past nine seasons. Courtney Carter (2020), Jovan Mooring (2016) and EC Central grad Michael Harris (2013) also were named Division II Player of the Year from SSC.
The breakout season followed one in which Washington played just one game for NCAA Division I Robert Morris before returning home following the deaths of two family members.
"I ain't going to lie," he said. "It feels like I was reborn. I've been through a lot, too much. To know you can get a second chance ... "
"It's great news for Shawn," South Suburban coach John Pigatti said. "The epitome of what he did all year, carrying the team on his back. He made strides throughout the year, improved his game.
"He's destined for great things."
Washington plans to return to South Suburban for another season, taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility offered by the NJCAA during the pandemic. And he's not taking any breaks; between midnight Thursday and Friday evening, he was planning to work out four different times.
"I'm ready," he said. "I'm doing anything I can."