When he started realizing how good his daughter could be at basketball, Travis Washington started to push.
Young Jessica Washington didn't want much to do with that initially.
“I started thinking when she was around fifth or sixth grade that she had a special talent,” Travis said. “But it took her a bit to want to work to take advantage of that.”
It didn't take long, though.
Now, about six years later, Washington is one of the best girls players in the country.
She played for Team USA in the FIBA U17 world championships in The Netherlands last summer, was the state's lone McDonald's All-American and signed to play at North Carolina.
Now, she's an Oklahoman Super 5 honoree.
“I feel very blessed to have the opportunities I've had,” Jessica said.
Washington grew up wanting to play for the Tar Heels. Travis was born in Charlotte and still has family near the school. His daughter grew up with UNC posters on her walls and Tar Heels jerseys in her closet.
“It was my dream school,” Washington said. “It's amazing to think about getting that chance. It's like a dream come true.”
She's worked plenty hard to earn those opportunities, though.
“People don't realize how hard she works,” Jenks coach Mandy Nightengale told the Tulsa World recently. “It's one of the most surprising things about her. I guarantee you that the day after our season was over, she was back in the gym working on her game.”
Washington's senior season wasn't easy.
The Trojans were in a rebuilding year after losing a big chunk of their lineup from last season's state tournament team and Nightengale was in her first year as Jenks' coach.
Jenks finished 15-11 and missed the state tournament.
“Of course I would've been a lot happier with winning a state championship but all around, it was a good season. I kept getting better.”
Washington averaged 23.8 points and 7.7 rebounds despite drawing a variety of defenses designed to keep her in check.
“I did a lot this year but one of the biggest things was working on my leadership on the court,” she said. “I've tried to make sure I'm staying positive and bringing positive vibes to the rest of the team.”