Wilson Washington To Play For Bobcats

Posted: December 13, 1994

Two days before he lost his job as coach of the Franklin Learning Center boys' basketball team, Pete Merlino said that if Wilson Washington played for the Bobcats, they'd be the best team in the city.

Now Washington, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, is joining the team.

A transfer from Edison, where he averaged 9.8 points and nine rebounds a game last season, Washington learned yesterday that he can play for FLC.

A high honors student at FLC, Washington, along with his parents, had made an agreement with the school that he would not play basketball this season. Instead, he would devote himself to academics.

"I wanted to prove a point," Washington said. "I didn't know I'd prove it so well."

His parents, Sharon and Gordon Sanford, who were pleased with Washington's academic performance, approached principal Charles Staniskis about allowing him to join the team.

"They recognized that he has demonstrated an excellence in academics by achieving honors in the first report card, and asked that he be permitted to play," Staniskis said. "In this case, we will permit him."

Staniskis said several teachers had recommended that Washington, whose academic eligibility was never in question, be allowed to play.

Merlino was dismissed after he allegedly allowed players to play on days they did not attend class. The accusations have been denied.

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