Player deviates from convention, founds semi-pro team USA Denver

Instead on following the path of most college athletes, Romello Washington founded his own semi-professional team called USA Denver. Washington both plays the game and manages the team. Photo by Joradan Roland •

Romello Washington is a 20-year-old semi-professional basketball player and Aurora native who has dedicated his life to the sport since he was in third grade. So much so, in fact, that he founded his own semi-pro team.

He bounced around during his high school career. He started at Valor Christian, then went to Eaglecrest, John F. Kennedy and finally finished his senior year at Vista Peak Prep where he averaged 18 points, two assists and two steals per game. Before his senior year, Vista Peak was a non-existent school in terms of talent, but Washington quickly brought attention with his ability.

“I blew up there, I made a name for us,” Washington said about his time at Vista Peak. “It was a school that nobody knew about. I stepped on the court and made a difference.”

During his senior year, Vista Peak Prep were two year 4A league champions and Washington was selected to the CHSAA/MaxPreps All-State Second Team. After he graduated he had his hopes set
on being recruited to a college but he chose a different path.

“I made a whole new decision in life and I just feel like there was better opportunities presented,” Washington said.

Once he put college basketball behind him, he set his time and effort on founding the semi-pro team USA Denver, which he plays for now. He wanted to start USA Denver for other athletes in his situation.

The program is only two years old, but in that two year span it has seen major growth in popularity. Players have joined and the team has started to get recognized locally. Washington has been featured in USA Denver commercials, has had radio interviews and invitations to play other professional teams.

Washington’s father Robert introduced him to his lifelong passion. He taught him the importance of small details like cardio, lifting weights and consistency to achieve greatness.

Aside from his smooth step back jumper that is perfected with consistency and finesse, Washington never presents himself with a cocky attitude. From jumpers to crossovers, his production on the court has been defined as electrifying because of his ability to carry a team on his shoulders and dazzle crowds, but with every great player comes humble attitude, and his actions define every sense of the word.

“Everything is my weakness right now and I’m always willing to work hard with getting my jump shot perfected, defense, ball handling,” Washington said. “I consider everything a weakness because you can always improve.”

Throughout his career, Washington has always led by example through his actions to show people that he is reliable and trustworthy. But he also carries the same attitude into his everyday life off of the court, and his hard work has paid off. When he’s not on the court he listens to music, promotes radio and tv shows, works a regular job and provides for his pregnant fiancé, Jameka Pollard.

“Man, my ride or die right there. She’s been through it all with me since I started USA Denver, she has been awesome,” Washington said.

Aside from basketball, he watches Marvel superhero movies and dreams of being a famous movie director if basketball was no longer a priority. He describes himself as the quiet nerd who opens up once you get to know him. Washington joked around when he was asked if he had any superpower, what would it be. He’d want to be invisible.

Whether talking about basketball or the obstacles one endures in life, Washington wakes up everyday with the same mentality to work harder than he did the day before. He knows that you can’t take days off.

“Getting up and thanking God first for everything, starting the new day right. With a kid on the way that’s really pushing me with everything being in the gym harder and having a better job,” he  said.

Basketball and being a strong man for his fiancé are Washington’s two main focuses in his life. The lessons he’s learned have shaped him into being the man that his fiancé, parents and peers have  all come to love.

Author: Jordan Roland

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