Potomac (Md.) senior Chris Winn improved significantly in the classroom to earn his shot at playing college basketball. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Potomac (Md.) senior Chris Winn entered his final high school basketball season without any real options for continuing his career at the next level. In fact, poor grades had finished his junior year on the court at Suitland prematurely.

After helping the Wolverines to the Maryland 3A final and cleaning up his act in the classroom, Winn took another step forward in his personal transformation on Saturday, verbally committing to play next season at Division III Widener.

“When I was dismissed from the team last year,” Winn said, “I just told myself it was a minor setback for a major comeback, and that’s exactly what I did.”

Winn averaged 9.6 points per game to finish fourth on the team in scoring in his only season at Potomac, serving as a complement for heralded backcourtmates Dion Wiley and Randall Broddie.

The 6-foot-1 guard has also made the honor roll in each of the first two quarters to raise his cumulative grade point average to 2.5. He was able to qualify academically and commit to Widener after receiving his latest SAT scores on Friday. He said the score was 130 points higher than when he took the test for the first time in the fall.

Winn, who played his first two seasons at Riverdale Baptist, said he had looks from Division II Virginia Union University and Bowie State University and Division III Goucher College. He also considered taking a year at Mount Zion Prep (Baltimore) if he needed more time to boost his grades.

But Widener, in suburban Philadelphia, stood out because Coach Chris Carideo had kept in regular contact since first seeing Winn play in a 62-54 win over Coolidge on Jan. 12. The guard had 11 points in the victory.

Winn has not yet visited the campus but said he’s confident in his pick and plans to make the trip in two weeks.

“They were the school that recruited me the hardest,” Winn said. “The more we kept talking, the more I wanted to play there next year.”

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