By LARRY VAUGHT
Sophomore PJ Washington continued Kentucky coach John Calipari’s NBA Draft lottery streak when he was picked 12th overall by Charlotte Thursday’s NBA draft — one selection before Miami selected UK freshman Tyler Herro.
Here’s what Washington had to say after his selection:
Q. Talk about what you’ll bring to your new team.
PJ WASHINGTON, JR: A lot of emotions right now. Just excited. Can’t wait to get to Charlotte, show what I can do, and just feel like I’m a very versatile player. Great locker room guy, and just willing to give anything for my teammates.
Q. I know Coach Calipari is a pretty sharp businessman as well as being a great basketball coach. Did he give you business advice about choosing an agent or making sure you stay in Nevada so you don’t have to pay any state income tax?
PJ WASHINGTON, JR: No, he hasn’t.
Q. What financial advice have you gotten in this process?
PJ WASHINGTON, JR: Basically what you said, stay in Vegas. I picked a great agency and I have a good financial advisor, so pretty much just listening to them, and I think they’ll lead me in the right path.
Q. Was it like Jeremy McGuire? How much of it was reality versus fantasy?
PJ WASHINGTON, JR: It’s crazy. I feel like I’m with a great group, just excited to be with them, and just happy they took me along with the group, as well.
Q. How did Coach Calipari prepare you for fulfilling your NBA dream?
PJ WASHINGTON, JR: He prepared me a lot from day one, ever since I stepped on Kentucky. He’s been a great leader for the program, just built everybody up to be a pro, and just did a lot for me and my family, and I just can’t thank him enough.
Q. You played in the UK so you have lots of Chinese fans. Do you want to say something to the Chinese fans?
PJ WASHINGTON, JR: Keep supporting UK, thanks for always supporting me.
Q. I wanted to pick up on the previous question about your past experience at Kentucky. Can you cite a drill that Coach Calipari put you guys through that you’re going to be glad you don’t have to do anymore?
PJ WASHINGTON, JR: Not necessarily a drill, but whenever you weren’t practicing good, he would just send you over to the treadmill right away, and you just had to give him like a minute or two minutes running as fast as you can, so definitely you used to always just go hard in practice. Didn’t want to do that.
Q. What’s going through your head as you’re walking to the podium?
PJ WASHINGTON, JR: Just a lot of excitement. Just can’t thank God enough. Just excited for me and my family. Just can’t thank them enough, can’t thank my coach enough, and just blessed to be in this position.
Q. You expanded your shot a little bit this season, took a lot more shots from three. Moving into the NBA, is there a particular skill or part of your game that you’re going to look to implement a little bit more that we didn’t get to see at Kentucky?
PJ WASHINGTON, JR: I feel like I can improve my ball handling. That’s one area I feel like I was a little shaky. I’m going to improve on that and feel like I can come in and make an impact, as well.