It was a simple layup for Jason Washburn, one that came off an assist from Jordan Loveridge early in Utah’s 72-61 win over Oregon State at the Huntsman Center.
But that simple shot for Washburn on Thursday night meant so much more.
The senior center is now the 35th member of the 1,000-point club, a milestone shared by some of the great players in school history. Washburn’s career and his journey don’t need validation. He stuck with the program through some of its darkest days when he didn’t have to. But now, he’s accomplished something that won’t ever be erased from the Utah record books.
“When I scored, I was focused so I didn’t really let it hit me,” Washburn said. “But the reality set in during the timeout. I couldn’t help but crack a smile.”
The 8,019 in attendance serenaded Washburn with a standing ovation upon the announcement. Washburn and Loveridge shared an emotional hug following the win over the Beavers. After the game, Washburn stayed for a long time and chatted with several family members.
One can’t help but think how far he’s come, even in two years under Larry Krystkowiak. Washburn has emerged as the undisputed leader in his senior season. He’s a candidate — probably the only candidate the Utes have — for one of the all-Pac-12 teams that will be announced in a few days.
Against OSU, Washburn scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds. He shut down the lane defensively with three blocked shots. He made several highlight-worthy plays, including a follow-up dunk that brought the fans to their feet.
“This all means a lot,” Washburn said. “When people were transferring in the past, everyone was asking me if I was going to stay. I wanted to stay. I think I owed it to the program to see this all through. I made the right decision.”