By Aubreigh Heck
Imagine someone going to a school where there are only 17 students. Then, imagine that the other 16 students are their own siblings.
For Janaya Washington, this is her reality.
Washington, a freshman from the tiny Pratt County town Sawyer, plays guard for Hutchinson Community College’s women’s basketball team.
“I’m the eighth child out of all my siblings, I am in the middle,” Washington said.
Even though Washington had been homeschooled her whole life, and grew up in a small town about 12miles southeast of Pratt, she had no problem adjusting to the new environment of HutchCC.
“The schedule is definitely a lot more full, but I think I adjusted fine,” Washington said. “The main thing was just getting used to the busy schedule.”
Growing up homeschooled, Washington wasn’t able to play for any high school teams, so she had to find her practice elsewhere.
“I’ve been playing basketball since I was 11, and I’ve been in summer leagues since I was 12,” she said. “For the normal season, we would practice twice a week.”
Blue Dragons John Ontjes first heard of Washington from a co-worker, and after watching her play, started the recruiting process.
“After we went to some of her games, we actively started to recruit her. Phil Anderson (an assistant coach) went to many of her practices to watch her,” Ontjes said. “We have a homeschool basketball tournament here, and we were able to recruit her. We are fortunate that she chose here to come to school.”
Washington has played all 24 games this season so far. She averages 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, and she averages 4.4 points per game.
When Washington chose HutchCC, the team gained a player who plays fast, active and intelligent.
“She has a good IQ for the game. Her understanding of the game is her biggest strength. Her athleticism is another strength that she has, and her competitiveness. We could see that when we were recruiting her. She was obviously the best player on her team, and she was a very good leader.” Ontjes said.