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 firstname.lastname@example.org