The Ferris men’s basketball team teaches the philosophy of family, and freshman Jeremiah Washington shows a new found meaning to it.
Family is a huge aspect is Washington’s life as he said that his biggest motivation was his mother who he looks up to and idolizes. Not only does this young freshman bring talent to the team, he brings heart and soul with it.
Washington was drawn to Ferris from his hometown of Chicago where he played at Chicago Bogan High School. Washington also played AAU basketball for the Young and Reckless program under Coach Aubrey Denard before he chose to attend Ferris State. Washington was ranked as one of the top 35 players overall by Illinois Prep Hoops and ranked as one of the top 10 point guards in the state of Illinois while in high school.
“It just means the world I mean every day I can just feel my mom getting up for work early and exhausted. She works her butt of for me so I feel like when I wake up in the morning I put everything on the line for my mom because I know she would do the same if she was in my shoes,” Washington said. “It means everything. You got to keep that in your mind every time you go out there and play in a game, practice, no matter what you always got to keep that in the back of your head.”
Washington explained how Ferris men’s basketball team’s “family first” philosophy helped him in his decision-making during the recruitment process. He ultimately chose the school that wanted him the most and Washington felt that Ferris was the one team that showed him the most support as they attended many of his games while he was narrowing down a decision.
“I just felt the vibe on my first when I first came, and just not having a father figure, [Bronkema] just showed that whatever part is missing of the puzzle is filled with Ferris,” Washington said. “Besides the coaches and the team as a whole, D’Lo kind of made it more comfortable for me as a player and as a person because off the court D’Lo is a real team/family guy and he just showed me how to be a leader on and off the court.”
Ferris men’s basketball coach Andy Bronkema said that his new point guard has developed into a learning curve and put in valuable minutes so far this season. With the men’s basketball team standing at 26-5 on the season, Washington has helped orchestrate another succesful playoff caliber team as senior point guard D’angelo Hughes has groomed him. Hughes will look to pass the torch next season after he graduates.
“We haven’t had a lot of true freshmen play for us, but we’ve had a few when they plug in and when they’re needed and we needed a point guard to play this year, so we brought Jerry in,” Bronkema said. “He’s just really settled in, remarkably to a great role, but he’s lucky because D’Lo was in that exact same position as a true freshman and played two years as a backup and two years as a starter and now a captain and leader so its pretty good progression.”
The team has been known to build up with younger generations and have the upperclassmen groom the newcomers as the entire team is about helping one another for the success of the team as they are all brothers. Washington said that being apart of a team who cares for one another more than just the sport meant more to him than a team who only cares about winning.
“The system is recruiting itself and we are looking for guys like Jerry with that type of attitude, and it worked out real well as he has a bright future,” Bronkema said. “Jerry makes us coaches look good and we’re excited to have him.”
The Ferris men’s basketball team will look to hold onto their two game lead atop of the GLIAC North conference. With a win this past Saturday, Feb. 22, the Bulldogs secured the GLIAC North Division Championship. This marks Ferris’ third title in the last four years and tallies their 16th title for the programs history.
Ferris will continue with postseason action as they secured a quarterfinal home game in the GLIAC tournament which is set for Tuesday, March 3 at Wink Arena.