NBA Draft 2019: Kentucky forward PJ Washington declares

By Kirstie Chiappelli 10 April 2019 141
NBA Draft 2019: Kentucky forward PJ Washington declares

PJ Washington is going pro.

The Kentucky sophomore forward on Tuesday announced that he will sign with an agent and enter the 2019 NBA Draft.

"The staff challenged me from day one to become the best version of myself and to work hard to become one of the top players in college basketball," Washington said. "I think I've become that."

Washington, 20, averaged 15.2 points and 7.6 rebounds across 35 games (33 starts) during his second season with the Wildcats. He had declared for the draft last year but didn’t hire an agent and eventually returned to Kentucky with the hope of winning a national championship.

The Wildcats fell to Auburn in the Elite Eight.

Under revised NCAA rules, hiring an agent to help him through the draft process doesn't preclude Washington from returning to UK, though that appears unlikely, given that he's projected to be a late first-round pick by many mock drafts.

At 6-7, Washington doesn't have prototypical power forward height or elite athleticism, per some scouting reports.

However, Kentucky coach John Calipari said (via CBSSports.com) made big strides from his freshman year through his sophomore season.

"PJ transformed everything about his game," Calipari said. "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."

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Kirstie Chiappelli

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