Texas assistant, UConn's Jefferson go way back
Before joining the Longhorns' staff, Washington was one of the coaches with the powerful and influential DFW Elite AAU program which has featured players on each of the last five women's Division I national championship teams. The list of prominent alumni includes UConn's Moriah Jefferson.
The two have crossed paths in the Webster Bank Arena hallways in the last few days and greeted each other with huge smiles and a quick hug.
Jefferson is expected to be a first-team All-American for the second season in a row, is closing in on Diana Taurasi's career assists record at UConn and with three more wins she will be a part of four national championship teams with the Huskies.
"At this point it is expected just by her work ethic when she was young, everything she has achieved is expected because she has always pushed herself to the max, that is what she does," Washington said.
Washington invariably found himself snaring rebounds when Jefferson would get some shots either before or after a practice or game. He always appreciated Jefferson's easy going manner off the court but also the intensity she plays with on the court.
"That is just kind of the nature of her family, she is from a sweet family but she has always been like that on the court," Washington said. "I think it is her competitive nature, she has always driven herself to be the best and do whatever it takes, she wants her team to be the best, wants the team to be the best and it is just her competitive nature."
What about a task of game planning for Jefferson as Texas will play UConn in the regionals for the second year in a row.
"It is hard to game plan for intangibles," Washington said. "You are of course impressed by her speed and her amazing ability to shoot the ball. She has always been a great leader but it is her intangibles. She gets up on your ball handler and it is not because it is just her defensive skill, it is her competitiveness. She wants to disrupt and she has always been like that, it is her intangibles that you can't game plan for but have to be prepared for."