By John Elambo
Keishana Washington is another member of the growing group of Canadian women playing NCAA basketball.
“It is a great honour to be included in such a group of talented Canadian women,” said the former Scarborough Basketball Association standout. “To play college basketball is an accomplishment in itself, but to play at such a high level as a Canadian women is even bigger because many people underestimate how talented we are.”
Washington is proud to be a part of Canada’s rise in the basketball world and that it’s amazing to see more Canadian women playing NCAA basketball throughout the U.S.
“I will always be rooting for Canadian women and want them to know that when you put in countless hours into your craft, your hard work will pay off in the end.”
Washington comes from a family that still is involved with the SBA. When she played, her father Randy was one of the assistant coaches and worked with the team both on and off the court.
“Currently I have a younger brother who played in the SBA (prior to the pandemic), and my parents are both highly involved with supporting him, and his team,” she said.
Her family also supports black and multicultural families in Scarborough, including families who have kids in the SBA, through an organization called “Ease the Stress Children and Youth Services.”
“This organization assists those who are experiencing racism, mental health issues, and abuse, by implementing specific cultural initiatives,” she said.
Washington remembers her days with the SBA with fondness, mentioning road trips, staying in hotels and doing fun activities with her teammates. But she has one memory that tops all of that.
“My fondest moment is when we won the provincial championship against Blessed Sacrament; one of our biggest rivals,” she said. “This was our 2011/12 season, and I played under Coach Brian Breedy, Coach Anita Robinson and my dad.”
Washington is grateful of her bond she built with Coach Brian Breedy and his daughter Brianna, whom she played with for seven years.
“Brianna was the first SBA teammate that I connected with,” she said. “We ended up winning three provincial championships together under Coach Brian.”
Washington has travelled and competed against players from all around the world.
“I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Mexico, Greece and numerous states throughout the U.S. to compete against players all over the world,” she said.
“I enjoy competing and learning as much as I can about the game from the players and coaches around me.”
Washington is now three seasons in with Drexel University and things have been going well .
“I’ve played in two championship games (freshman and junior year), my team was an automatic NCAA qualifier my sophomore year (Covid year), and this past year we were CAA (the team’s conference) champions and played in the NCAA tournament in San Antonio, Texas,” she said.
In three years, Washington has earned two rings, and obtained many other team and individual accolades. Like earning a spot in the CAA All-Rookie Team, All-CAA Third Team, 2019-20 CAA Sixth Player of the Year.
“Another thing that I love about being at Drexel is the relationships that I have with my coaches. They truly care about my teammates and I as more than just basketball players, but also as young women; and they do an amazing job at empowering and motivating us each and every day,” she said.
Washington said there’s a family atmosphere at the University, it extends throughout the entire campus.
“Wherever I go, everyone is extremely kind, and they are very interested in getting to know me, not only as a player on the basketball team, but also as a person,” she said. “I also enjoy the location of the school. We are right in the city and there are always fun activities for my teammates and I to do whenever we are not playing basketball.”
Washington doesn’t have a particular player that she’d compare herself to but there are many who she enjoys and will pick some parts of their game to add to her arsenal.
“Some of these players include Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving, Allen Iverson, Sue Bird, and Diana Taurasi,” she said.
She often thinks about how much basketball has given her — the opportunity to travel, meet new people and form everlasting relationships.
“It has also helped me develop important skills that I use outside of playing such as leadership, accountability, and responsibility,” she said. “As a quiet kid from Pickering, this sport has allowed me to grow as an individual and come out of my shell. It has taken me places that I may not have gone otherwise, and I am grateful for what this sport has done for me.”
Washington has aspirations of going pro after college among other things including coaching.
“I also have aspirations of becoming a coach after my playing career and having the opportunity to teach players the things that I was blessed to learn from the coaches and mentors in my life,” she said.