George Washington III couldn’t help but be encouraged by watching Malaki Branham play.

The four-star guard out of Louisville and the first member of Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting class watched as the former four-star and No. 44 player in the 2021 class turned from a tall, lanky freshman plugged in out of necessity at the beginning of the season into one of the most consistent scorers in the Big Ten conference.

To Washington, it was a prime example of Ohio State’s focus on doing what’ best for the individual player while still maintaining a team culture of winning.

To Washington, he saw the way he wanted to be developed.