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Healthy Washington can play freer next season, provide even more help for Cats according to Mike Pratt

P.J. Washington (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Mike Pratt believes P.J. Washington made the right decision to return to Kentucky for his sophomore season rather than leave UK early for the NBA.

“It was a wise decision. The family held to its word and I respect that,” said Pratt, the UK Basketball Radio Network analyst. “He has a chance to really move up his stock and a real chance to help this team.

“Cal is talking about him being a leader, and he should be. He has the personality to do that. It took him a while to figure things out last year and then he did.

“Nobody is perfect. He has things to work on. But he has a chance to be a real influence on this team. He can be a go-to guy, make plays rebounding-wise, make plays defensively which is just as important as making plays on offense.”

Washington played the second half of last season with a broken pinky finger. He’s had surgery and should be full speed by early August. Pratt says even though Washington played through the pain, the injury had to impact him.

“You become hesitant and kind of anticipate the pain,” Pratt said. “Once you get through that you are fine. You tape it up and go about your business. He played well down the stretch.

“Some guys have a tolerance for pain that is greater than others. That finger bothered him some and he worked through it. Now he gets a fresh start. Mentally that is like clearing space and will free him up so much. It will make a big difference next season.”

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