PJ Washington did something this afternoon he’s become very familiar with thanks to his two seasons at Kentucky – fielding questions from the media. The NBA prospect met with reporters Friday afternoon during the Combine, giving him ample opportunity to reflect on the two seasons he spent in a Kentucky uniform.
The main point of conversation, of course, was his decision to return to school this time last year. In the one-and-done era, Washington’s choice to remain in Lexington for a sophomore season dramatically altered UK’s success in 2019 – and his own career. Although it wasn’t necessarily an easy decision, it was a simple one.
“I feel I grew in every aspect,” he said of his sophomore year. “That was the main [reason] to go back. To better myself and better my game.”
He took the feedback he got from NBA coaches and teams following his freshman year and learned from it. He drastically improved his offensive abilities, specifically his contributions from behind the three-point line.
“When I came back, I just made a commitment to myself that I was going to try to get better each and every day,” Washington said. “Work on some of the things that they told me to work on. I feel I did a great job of that… I feel I pretty much earned myself to be here.”
Washington also revealed he interviewed with 13 NBA teams, which he compared to the repetition of media opportunities and job interviews. Despite the repetition, one team stood out as one of his favorites: the San Antonio Spurs.
While Washington (as well as Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro) are at the Combine, a pair of former teammates has a similar decision to make. EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards have not made formal announcements regarding their plans for next season, past their initial announcements stating they would be “testing the waters.”
While it’s generally believed Richards will return for a junior season, Montgomery’s future is considered a bit more uncertain. Although he did not receive an invite to this year’s NBA Combine or G-League Elite Camp, he could technically still decide to leave his name in the draft. And even though Montgomery’s decision could be compared to the one Washington made last year, Washington says it’s not his place to offer up any advice: “their decision is for them, and my decision was for me.”
“I haven’t really talked to them,” Washington added. “I feel like the best thing for them is to just talk to the people around them the most. And talk to Coach [Calipari] as well. I feel Coach has done a great job with all of us. He wouldn’t lie to them.”