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P.J. Washington will put his name in draft but not hire agent so he could return to UK

P.J. Washington (Jeff Houchin Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s basketball freshman forward PJ Washington announced Tuesday that he plans to submit his name for the 2018 NBA Draft but will not hire an agent. So long as Washington does not hire an agent, he will have until May 30 (10 days after the NBA Draft Combine) to make a final decision as to whether he wishes to remain in the draft or return to Kentucky.

“After meeting with Coach Cal and talking through my situation, I am going to test the waters and see where I stand after my freshman year,” Washington said. “I want the fans to know that I love school, I love this program and I love Kentucky. I’m not in a hurry to make any type of decision but Coach believes I should evaluate where I am right now.”

Washington is the first underclassman from the 2017-18 Wildcats to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft, which will be held June 21 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

“PJ and I met and talked this week about his future and the process that he would be able to go through if he chose to,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “I think it’s very important that each kid understands where he stands at this point in the eyes of professionals.

“He’s improved physically and mentally. His ability to play winning basketball isn’t even close to where it was at the beginning of the season. I’ve seen a tremendous growth in all those areas. Like all these kids, I would like to continue to coach PJ, but I’m going to support him as he goes through this process.”

 Should Washington choose to remain in the NBA Draft, he will certainly draw plenty of interest after a productive freshman year that was capped with his best play of the season.

Washington scored in double figures in 11 of the final 12 games of the season, including a double-double in UK’s season finale vs. Kansas State. Washington recorded 18 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds for his team-high third double-double of the season. He pulled in at least five rebounds in all but one of those games as well.

During that 12-game stretch, Washington averaged 12.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 57.6 percent from the floor. UK went 9-3 during that stretch, including winning the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship.

Washington averaged 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds for the season. He led the team in total rebounds with 211 boards, plus he added 31 blocks. Twice Washington scored 20 or more, netting 20 vs. Monmouth on Dec. 9 and 22 vs. Mississippi State on Jan. 23.

The 2018 NBA Draft Combine will take place May 16-20 at the Barclays Center.

Since Calipari joined the Wildcat program for the 2009-10 season, UK has produced 31 NBA Draft picks over eight seasons, 14 more than the next closest school (Duke). Included in the 31 are 24 first-round selections, three No. 1 overall picks, 12 top-10 selections and 17 lottery picks.  

Of the 21 players in the Calipari era who declared for the NBA Draft after one season at Kentucky heading into this season, all 21 were drafted in the first round.


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  1. Yawn…..I wish the young man success, but to be honest, this yearly exodus of transfers, and multible players leaving early for the NBA, is sort getting old for me as a fan.

  2. Pup…..the yearly drama this produces is really getting very old. We all saw what the other Wildcats put on the floor last night, and they would have killed us and done so with, I think they said only 1 5* on the floor. They were “lights out” in all phases of the game.We also didn’t need Langford and Papa calling us out on national media stage either.

  3. This team needs to get over itself and forget about the NBA until they show that they can compete on the college level for more than 20 minutes.

  4. If you look at our 38-0 team getting beat by Wisconsin and Villanova winning 2 of the last 3 championships, those 3 teams don’t have anyone that I know of that had an offer from UK. Even if they did, Cal would say they are too slow or not athletic enough to be on the floor, so they would just sit the pine. The kid that scored 31 for Nova would never see the floor in a meaningful way under Cal because he is not a superstar 5* that needs to be showcased. I will take experienced players willing to listen and put their heart into being a complete player and team over 1 year superstar talent every time. Cal has never put a team on the floor at UK that could compete night in and night out with the 96 team.

  5. Prediction:…Cal will practice what he preaches i.e., “one and done” while chasing NC at UK.

  6. I agree with all of the above! It is getting old with the one and done every year. I don’t care if we beat Duke or anyone else with the most players drafted. I care about UK winning!!!!

  7. I believe we may get our wish this year, Looks to me like we will have several upper class men next year to go with some pretty good incoming frosh.

  8. NBC Sports has the Cats as No. 3 next year…really??? We aren’t even sure who is going and who is staying. Those who stay and those who come will need to hit the weight room this summer and bulk up. Everyone is going to make their game with KY a wrestling match. The Cats will need a physical AND mental toughness that last year’s team never developed. This isn’t basketball, it will be a street fight every night if the refs allow it and there is no reason to think that they won’t.

    1. CBS has UK No. 6 with Auburn 4 and Tennessee 5

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