Washington to leave UK and declare for NBA draft

Washington to leave UK and declare for NBA draft
PJ Washington (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LEXINGTON, KY (WAVE) - University of Kentucky sophomore forward PJ Washington has announced that he will submit his name for the 2019 NBA draft and sign with an agent.

“It’s been a little over a week since our season ended but it still hasn’t hit me that I’ve played my last game with Kentucky across my chest,” Washington said in a statement included in a news release by UK. “This place has been my home for two years and it’s hard for me to put in words how much I’ve grown in my time at Kentucky. The staff challenged me from day one to become the best version of myself and to work hard to become one of the best players in college basketball. I feel like I’ve done that.

“When I decided to come back to school a year ago, I knew there were things I still wanted to accomplish so I challenged myself to become a better all-around player, to develop more consistency and to become a leader for this team. Although we fell a couple games short of our ultimate goal, I’ll never forget the season we had with my brothers. We did some special things this season and made memories that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

“I want to thank God, Coach Cal and the staff with challenging me to become the player that I am. They believed in my potential and never accepted anything less than my best. Thank you helping me grow into a man that’s ready for this next step. To my teammates: Wow, we have been through so much. Thank you for putting your trust in me and for inspiring me through every workout, practice and game. I’ll never forget this group. And to everyone at UK: Thank you for your support and for helping a kid from Dallas see his dreams come true.”

During his two years at Kentucky, Washington scored 932 points, had 475 rebounds, 120 assists and 74 blocks.

“I’m so proud of PJ and what he’s accomplished over the last two seasons,” UK head coach John Calipari said in the news release. “When he was in this position last year, he had to determine what was best for him. He looked at this and said, I want to come back and work on my game, to be coached, to become one of the best players in the game and to help us be one of those teams in the mix. And I told him, do not come back to school unless you’re going to drag your teammates with you. And boy did he ever.

“PJ transformed everything about his game. He became a national player of the year candidate, he showed his full set of his skills and he improved his stock while helping us become one of the best teams in the country. What I’m most proud of is how PJ developed into a leader. Every kid is on their own timetable, and the one that PJ followed – which was the best path for him – has put him in a position to do some special things at the next level. I can’t wait to watch his continued growth.”

The NBA Draft is set for June 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.