Fly Eagles fly

Just weeks after help­ing the Eagles claim a Pub­lic League title on the foot­ball field, Tru­itt is team­ing up with George Wash­ing­ton’s bas­ket­ball squad.

It’s a dif­fer­ent sea­son and sport for Kend­ale Tru­itt. 

But he has the same men­tal­ity. 

“I def­in­itely think that we can make it to the cham­pi­on­ship and win it,” said Tru­itt, a ju­ni­or on the George Wash­ing­ton High School bas­ket­ball team who also plays foot­ball for the Eagles. “It felt real good to win the (foot­ball) cham­pi­on­ship. Now I want an­oth­er one.”

Fresh off his foot­ball team’s Pub­lic League title, Tru­itt has moved on to the Eagles’ bas­ket­ball squad as a start­ing guard.

ldquo;He’s prob­ably one of the top play­ers in the league,” said Wash­ing­ton hoops coach Calv­in Jones. “He has a lot of tal­ent. We’re ex­pect­ing him to do big things this sea­son.”

Tru­itt will have some com­pany in his new lead­er­ship role, cour­tesy of fel­low ju­ni­or Na­fece Ed­wards. The duo had an ex­tremely suc­cess­ful run as sopho­mores — earn­ing a com­bined av­er­age of 16.8 points per game — and they are ex­pec­ted to up the ante this time around. 

“The team is young­er this year. We have a lot of ju­ni­ors and sopho­mores,” said Tru­itt. “We have a lot of tal­ent. It’s just a mat­ter of put­ting it to­geth­er.”

The Eagles are com­ing off a sea­son when they went 18-6 over­all, in­clud­ing a dash deep in­to the play­offs. And al­though they lost their top two scorers — Keith Richard­son and Kawaun Chav­is — to gradu­ation, Wash­ing­ton fully ex­pects to be ma­jor con­tenders once again. 

“I know that we’ll have a com­pet­it­ive bas­ket­ball team,” said Jones. “There’s a lot of tal­ent here.”

Tru­itt is no stranger to life in the win­ning circle. He got a taste of cham­pi­on­ship glory just four short weeks ago, when he helped the George Wash­ing­ton foot­ball squad earn the Pub­lic League Class AAAA cham­pi­on­ship crown. 

Now he’s hungry for more. 

“It felt real good to get that title,” said Tru­itt, who caught sev­en passes for 226 yards and two touch­downs this fall. “It was a good sea­son. I mean, we had a couple of losses so people were talk­ing about how we were too young, but we pulled it off.” 

Tru­itt isn’t the only foot­ball play­er who re­cently traded his pads for bas­ket­ball shorts. Ha­keem Sill­man, Justin Moody and Ad­onis Foun­tain also have switched to the bas­ket­ball team.

ldquo;Since we made it so far in foot­ball, the bas­ket­ball team was already get­ting star­ted with workouts by the time foot­ball was over,” ex­plained Tru­itt. “But I like play­ing both be­cause it keeps me in good shape.”

Tru­itt has been a reg­u­lar on the foot­ball field and bas­ket­ball court for most of his life. He at­ten­ded West Cath­ol­ic High School dur­ing his fresh­man year, where he played both sports, but trans­ferred to George Wash­ing­ton as a sopho­more for fin­an­cial reas­ons. 

“I like Wash­ing­ton a lot,” said Tru­itt. “Wash­ing­ton is the best pub­lic school. It’s like get­ting a Cath­ol­ic school edu­ca­tion in a pub­lic school.

“It’s busy play­ing both sports, plus school,” he ad­ded, “but I’ve been do­ing it my whole life, so I’m used to the sched­ule. I like be­ing busy. It keeps me out of trouble and it’s fun.” 

George Wash­ing­ton’s bas­ket­ball team opened its sea­son against En­gin­eer­ing & Sci­ence yes­ter­day af­ter­noon. (The game was played after the Times went to press this week.) To­mor­row, the Eagles will host its home-open­er against Fitz­Si­mons. 

From there, the Eagles have a gruel­ing sched­ule that in­cludes battles with Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln, Uni­versity City, Ger­man­town and West Phil­adelphia among oth­ers. 

“I’m ex­cited for the sea­son. We have a lot of tal­ent and a real strong de­fense,” said Tru­itt. “We have a lot of young tal­ent here, so I think we can build the pro­gram to be suc­cess­ful and stay suc­cess­ful.” •• 

Ed­it­or Melissa Yerkov can be reached at my­

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