Today’s news:

Jefferson tabs legend Pearl Washington as girls’ hoops coach

Boys & Girls basketball legend Dwayne (Pearl) Washington was announced as the Thomas Jefferson girls’ basketball coach today, four days before the season opener, has learned.

Washington, 44, who has served as an assistant coach and a teacher’s assistant at Canarsie HS, was the top high-school player in the nation in 1983 and starred at Syracuse University. He was drafted 13th overall in the 1986 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, where he averaged nine points per game in two seasons.

He inherits a talented team that won PSAL Class A and B titles in 2006 and 2007 and lost in the Class AA semifinals to Manhattan Center last March. But the Orange Wave have also suffered their fair share of tumult. Former coach Calvin Young, who led Jefferson to said championships, resigned last December after a holiday tournament in San Diego, Calif., and was replaced by the boys’ coaches, Lawrence Pollard and Seldon Jefferson.

Initially, former Lincoln HS girls’ coach, Reuben McLaughlin, was thought to be in line for the job but he was reportedly passed over for a previous infraction. Washington met with his new players Thursday and ran practice Friday.

Washington was offered the boys’ head coaching job at Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx, according to former coach Rodney Plummer, but turned it down when a teaching job at the school was unavailable. Plummer, who has long shared a friendship with Washington, resigned because his full-time job as a federal investigator with the Equal Employment Commission included new hours that would conflict with coaching. Plummer said the commute from Canarsie would have been too inconvenient for Washington.

“It shines a big light on the program,” said Pollard, who also played at Boys & Girls. “It can only be a plus when you have someone of that magnitude with the experience he’s bringing. He’s just coaching the girls, but I’m going to ask him his opinion to help some of my guys. I can tell the kids a lot of things; I can’t tell a kid what it is to play in the NBA.”

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