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T.J.’s Player Preview: P.J. Washington

Kentucky Sports Radio will preview every player heading into UK’s Bahamas trip starting on August 8th. The complete schedule can be found here and all games are on SEC Network.

Basics: Washington is a 6-foot-7, 236-pound power forward from Dallas, Texas, but lived in Louisville as a baby. People forget. Most players know the basics when it comes to Washington but he picked UK over UNC, Arizona and UNLV back in 2016. He played his high school basketball for his dad at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada. Washington put his name in the 2018 NBA Draft but withdrew after testing the waters and performing in the NBA Draft Combine. Washington put up solid numbers in the scrimmage but never received a first round guarantee and decided to return to Kentucky for a sophomore season.

2017-2018: Washington averaged 10.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He shot just under 52 percent from the field, hit 5-of-21 threes (23.8 percent) and finished with a disappointing 60.6 percent free throw shooting percentage. Washington averaged 5.6 attempts per game. Washington was turning into one of the better bigs in the country late in the season. He scored over double-digits in 11 of his final 12 games as freshman and saved his best for last, although many won’t remember the positives in the season ending loss to Kansas State. Despite playing 40 minutes and finishing with 18 points and 15 rebounds Washington went 8-20 from the line as the Cats lost by three points. Probably most importantly, we learned Washington played the last two months of the season with a broken pinky. The kid is tough and has since returned to practice after surgery.

Bahamas Expectations: We still haven’t received official confirmation that Washington will play in the Bahamas, but all signs point towards the sophomore giving it a go, although the Cats may not give him his normal bulk of minutes. We know what Washington can do on the floor and we know about his toughness. Washington hasn’t been able to practice most of the summer so we may not see a major jump from Washington just yet, but if he picks up where he left off in March that would be good enough for the Cats.

I want to see Washington be the leader of this group. Just because Reid Travis is older doesn’t mean he’s the default leader. Washington knows Calipari’s style, he’s played with several of the players, he knows what it takes to win at UK and he was the go-to guy late last season. He will most likely be UK’s most talented player next year and he needs to also be the most important player as a floor general, too.

Highlights:

T.J.’s Player Preview Schedule (click to read previous previews):

July 24th: Reid Travis

July 25th: P.J. Washington

July 26th: Jemarl Baker

July 27th: Nick Richards

July 30th: Quade Green

July 31st: E.J. Montgomery

August 1st: Tyler Herro

August 2nd: Immanuel Quickley

August 3rd: Keldon Johnson

August: 6th: Ashton Hagans

August 7th: Walk-ons

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Article written by TJ Walker