Halfway through his sophomore year, PJ Washington is finally morphing into the player John Calipari knew he could be. Last night, PJ had a double double by halftime and finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, his third straight 20-point game. Drew shared Cal’s comments on PJ with you last night, but Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew also raved about the big man, telling reporters he may be the most improved player in the country.
“Oh my goodness, PJ was sensational. Watching on film, his game from last year to this year, I’m trying to think if there’s a player that’s more improved in the country. He’s shooting the ball like he’s a two guard. Obviously, with his length, he’s finishing. He’s getting 12 rebounds. It shows what hard work in an offseason can do if you stay with it and credit to him. All compliments to him for turning his game completely around from last year to this year.”
PJ was 3-3 from three last night, bringing his average for the season to 41.5 percent, up from 23.8 precent last year. He’s shooting 50 percent from three in the last three games. Outside shooting was the main area in which the NBA said PJ could expand his game with another year at Kentucky, and it’s working; Drew said it gives his game a whole new dimension.
“Last year, we were kind of playing off him, like, go ahead and shoot it. Today, man, I mean, his shot was pure from the time it left his hand and on film it’s been pure for the last five games. I think he’s hit five or something. He’s just really shooting the ball well. I think that’s a dimension — when you’re a big, and you can stretch the floor like that…oh man, that’s great for your offense. ”
It is. PJ leads the team in efficiency over the last three games, which have also been some of Kentucky’s most impressive wins. When PJ’s rolling, the Cats are rolling, so here’s hoping that momentum continues to snowball.