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PJ Washington NABC third team All-American

PJ Washington (Jeff Houchin Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky sophomore forward PJ Washington added his third major All-America honor on Tuesday when the National Association of Basketball Coaches selected him to its third team.

Washington is the first Wildcat to earn All-America distinction by the NABC since Malik Monk was a second-team choice in 2017. The NABC is one of the four “major” NCAA-recognized All-America teams that the NCAA uses for its consensus All-America teams. The other three are the Associated Press, the Sporting News and the United States Basketball Writers Association. Washington has hauled in third-team honors by three of the four teams. The Sporting News and the USBWA are the other two that have been released.

The Dallas native, was joined on the NABC Third Team by Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech), Mike Daum (South Dakota State), Kyle Guy (Virginia) and Dedric Lawson (Kansas).

Washington is the 11th player under John Calipari to earn All-America honors by one of the four major organizations. He joins John Wall (2010), DeMarcus Cousins (2010), Anthony Davis (2012), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2012), Julius Randle (2014), Willie Cauley-Stein (2015), Karl-Anthony Towns (2015), Tyler Ulis (2016), Jamal Murray (2016) and Monk (2017) in earning All-America distinction by either the Sporting News, AP, USBWA or the NABC.

Washington is averaging 17.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 blocks over his last 16 games played. He suffered a sprained left foot in the second half of the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals against Tennessee on March 16 and did not play in UK’s opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

During his most recent stretch, he was shooting 51.7 percent from the floor and 44.4 from 3-point range. That span also included three straight double-doubles vs. then-No. 9/10 Kansas, at Vanderbilt and at Florida.

Overall, Washington leads the Wildcats in both scoring (14.8 points per game) and rebounding (7.5 rpg). After mulling a decision to turn pro after last season, Washington is enjoying career highs in virtually every statistical category in his return for his sophomore season, including a team-high eight double-doubles.

For the season, Washington is shooting 51.5 percent from the floor and 41.9 percent from 3-point range. A year after hitting just five 3s in 37 games at a 23.8-percent rate, he’s drained 31 this season.

Perhaps the truest indicator of Washington’s worth this season is his impressive play vs. Kentucky’s best competition. In the nine games he’s played vs. Associated Press Top 25 teams, Washington is averaging 16.1 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 53.1 percent.

Washington is racking up postseason honors by the day. The major honors he’s won so far include:

  • NABC All-America Third Team
  • NABC All-District 21 First Team
  • USBWA All-America Third Team
  • Sports Illustrated All-America Third Team
  • All-SEC First Team (AP/Coaches)
  • All-SEC Freshman Team (Coaches)
  • Sporting News All-America Third Team
  • USBWA All-District IV Team
  • Karl Malone Award Finalist
  • Wooden Award Finalist
  • Naismith Citizen Trophy Semifinalist
  • Two-time SEC Player of the Week
  • Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week (Feb. 18)

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