Disabato: Calviontae Washington sets Eisenhower hoops standard with 53 points
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @disabato February 19, 2014 7:48PM
Eisenhower's Calviontae Washington celebrates his 53-point game Feb. 14 vs. Oak Lawn. | Supplied photo
Updated: February 20, 2014 2:18AM
Calviontae Washington remembers when Tyrone Terrell, at the time a senior at Eisenhower, scored 50 points in a game, setting a school record.
Washington was a sophomore then.
“I remember people telling me that Tyrone had scored 50,” Washington said. “It crossed my mind a few times what it would be like to score 50 points and if I could do it. But it never came to me that I’d actually do it.”
But he did.
Friday night, during a 118-80 win over Oak Lawn, Washington, now a senior, scored 53 points, breaking Terrell’s single-game scoring record at Eisenhower.
As Cardinals coach Mike Curta accurately described, Washington was “unconscious.”
“He’s been on a streak,” Curta said. “He won the game for us against Seton with a last-second shot. But this game was a whole different level. There was a point when he couldn’t miss.”
Washington’s previous game-high was 24 points, which he eclipsed by halftime Friday. By then he already had 26 points.
By the time the third quarter ended, Washington was at 40 points.
“My teammates were telling me, ‘You’re going to break the record,’ ” Washington said.
Saying it is one thing. Doing it is quite another. He converted 12 three-pointers on the night. Ironically, it was a layup, off a nice pass from Vinny Curta, that established the record. Washington added two free throws — he was 9-of-10 from the stripe — to finish with 53.
Players talk all the time about being “in the zone.” Washington said there was something a little different than normal when he launched his second shot of the game.
“When I let it go, it just felt really good,” he said. “It’s something I really can’t explain.”
His record-setting performance was the icing on the cake of a pretty special day.
For weeks Washington had been eagerly awaiting his college acceptance letter to arrive in the mail.
It’s generally a nerve-racking moment for any teenager. That “acceptance” letter also can be a “rejection” letter.
On Friday, hours before the greatest game of his life, the letter arrived, acknowledging that he had, indeed, been accepted to Chicago State. Washington, a Robbins resident, was thrilled.
“I read it and I was like, ‘Wow,’ ” said Washington, who plans on being a physical education teacher and coach. “Getting that letter excited me.”
A few hours later, he’d make history, scoring more points than any player in Eisenhower history. Believe me, there have been some great hoopsters at the Blue Island school through the years: Troy Hubbard, Drennon Jones, Quinn Richardson, Theron Bullock, Sam Scaletta, King Nesbit, Chris Hobson and arguably the greatest of all, Bernard Campbell.
None ever reached Washington’s single game output.
“It was pretty cool seeing him get the record,” Mike Curta said. “The best thing about it is that he’s such a great kid. He’s so polite, has good grades. He’s just a good person.”
Throughout our interview, Washington praised his teammates. I’ve been around long enough to know when a player has been coached what to say. Washington, whose mother left him and two younger siblings when he was 9, spoke from the heart. His words are as sincere as the smile on his face, the twinkle in his eyes.
“My teammates are just so unselfish,” Washington said, bowing his head. “The guys were kicking the ball out to me even though they had wide-open layups. To be able to share it with this group of guys and the coaching staff is amazing. My teammates had the hard part. They were hustling to get me the ball.”
Speaking of that ball, Mike Curta made certain to give it to Washington as a memento.
So what did he do with the ball? Put it in a trophy case or on a shelf?
“I had it with me all weekend,” Washington said. “I slept with it for two nights.”