COLLEGE: Port Charlotte basketball player Matt Washington signs with Warner

By Josh Vitale, SunCoast Sports

Port Charlotte basketball player Matt Washington (center) signs letter of intent with Warner University surrounded by (clockwise from top left) coach Bill Specht, Briana Washington, Alice Wilson, Dionne Washington, assistant coach Kip Rhoten and Jordan Washington. Sun photo by Josh Vitale

Port Charlotte basketball player Matt Washington (center) signs letter of intent with Warner University surrounded by (clockwise from top left) coach Bill Specht, sister Briana Washington, grandmother Alice Wilson, mother Dionne Washington, assistant coach Kip Rhoten and brother Jordan Washington.
Sun photo by Josh Vitale

PORT CHARLOTTE — Matt Washington admitted he was nervous Tuesday afternoon. Being the center of attention on the basketball court isn’t quite as intimidating as having 13 sets of eyes and two cameras on you in the principal’s office.

But when he put the pen to paper, he breathed a sigh of relief. Three months removed from the end of a four-year career on the Port Charlotte High School boys basketball team, Washington signed a national letter of intent to continue his career at Warner University.

“Everybody’s been asking me where I’m going. ‘Where’s Matt going next year to play basketball?’ Washington said. “The long term goal of the season, other than winning a district championship, was to go as far as possible So this feels great.”

Washington learned of the school’s interest through Port Charlotte coach Bill Specht. He visited the Lake Wales campus for a tryout in late April, and the NAIA school offered him a week later.

He’ll join the Royals after an All-Area season in which he finished second on the district-champion Pirates with an 18.8 points-per-game scoring average while also contributing 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

Washington will graduate Wednesday as the owner of Port Charlotte’s all-time single-game scoring record after he poured in 47 points in a double-overtime loss at North Fort Myers on Dec. 5.

“I’ve been working hard for 18 years,” said Washington, who will room with former Pirates football player Brennan Norus at Warner. “This whole season. Four years. All of Port Charlotte High School. I’ve just been working hard to get a scholarship.”

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