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25 P.J. Washington

P.J. Washington
Hometown (Last School)
Dallas, TX (Findley Prep)
2017-18, 2018-19
August 23, 1998

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P.J. Washington was born Paul Jamaine Washington, Jr. on August 23, 1998 in Louisville, Kentucky to Sherry and Paul Washington Sr.  Both of his parents played basketball at Middle Tennessee State.

In high school he was rated as high as the No. 12 overall prospect in the class of 2017 rankings by ESPN.  Scout and Rivals tabbed him at No. 15 overall and 247Sports ranked him No. 19.  He was named to the All-USA Boys Basketball Second Team and played in the 2017 McDonald’s All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic.  He also won most valuable player honors at the inaugural Allen Iverson Roundball Classic.  Washington started all five games and averaged 10.0 points and 4.0 rebounds for the gold-medal winning 2016 USA Men’s U18 National Team in Chile.  The forward was also a member of the 2015 USA 3×3 U18 World Championship Team, which finished in eighth place in Debrecen, Hungary.  He suited up for Coach Calipari and Team USA at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup. Washington averaged a team-high 12.9 points per game and also added 5.1 rebounds per outing en route to a third-place finish.  PJ was an honor-roll student in high school.

On November 10, 2016, he committed to the Kentucky Wildcats, on November 20 he signed his letter of intent.

As a freshman, he appeared in 37 games for the Wildcats, starting 30 of them.  He was UK’s third-leading scorer with a 10.8 average and led UK in rebounding with 211 total boards.  He also led the Wildcats with three double-doubles.  PJ added 57 assists and 31 blocks, both third most on the team, respectively.  He scored in double figures in 11 of the final 12 games of the season, averaging 12.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 57.6 percent from the floor. He played all 40 minutes and posted a double-double vs. Kansas State in the Sweet 16 with 18 points and a career-high 15 rebounds in addition to a career-high-tying three steals.  He scored in double figures in all three NCAA Tournament games.  He scored a career-high 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting and a 10-for-14 day at the free-throw line vs. Mississippi State.  At the end of the season, he declared for the 2018 NBA Draft but, removed his name from consideration and returned to play for his sophomore season.

PJ had a monster sophomore season that led to numerous national honors, chief among them, NCAA Consensus All-America Third Team selection.  He led Kentucky in scoring averaging (15.2) and rebounding (7.5) and enjoyed career highs in virtually every major statistical category. He scored in double figures in 25 games and led UK in scoring in a team-high 16 games.  He also led UK in rebounding in a team-best 16 games.  He had a team-high nine double-doubles and scored 20 or more points a team-high 11 times.  PJ finished second on the team in blocks with 43.  He averaged 17.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and shot 54.8 percent in his 11 games vs. AP Top 25 opponents and was one of only four players in the country standing 6-foot-8 or taller who averaged at least 15.0 points per game, shot at least 50 percent from the field, at least 40 percent from 3 and made at least 30 3-pointers.  After making just five 3-pointers in his freshman season, made 33 this season on 42.3-percent shooting, the best mark on the team.  He averaged 16.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in league play.  After missing the first two NCAA Tournament games with a sprained left foot suffered in the SEC Tournament semifinals, was dominant in the NCAA Midwest regional games by averaging 22.0 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 61.5 percent.  PJ played arguably his best game of his career in in the season finale vs. No. 14/18 Auburn in the regional finals with a game-high 28 points, 13 rebounds and two 3-pointers in 37 minutes.  In his first game back from his foot injury, he came off the bench to score 16 points in 26 minutes on an efficient 6-of-8 shooting performance vs. No. 11/9 Houston.  PJ scored in double figures in 19 of his final 20 games, averaging 17.7 points and 7.2 rebounds during that time span.  He recorded three straight double-doubles at Florida (15 points, 12 rebounds), at Vanderbilt (26 points, 12 rebounds) and at home vs. No. 9/10 Kansas (20 points, 13 rebounds) to become the first player with three straight double-doubles since Julius Randle in March 2014.  He was also the first player with back-to-back 20-point, 10-rebound games since Randle in November 2013.  He was tabbed a third-team All-America selection by all four NCAA-recognized All-America teams (Associated Press, Sporting News, U.S. Basketball Writers Association and National Association of Basketball Coaches).  PJ was also named an All-American by USA Today (Second Team), Sports Illustrated (Second Team), Basketball Times (Third Team) and Lute Olson.  He was named to the All-Southeastern Conference First team by both the league’s coaches and the media.  He appeared on the John R. Wooden Award national ballot and was one of five finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Karl Malone Award, presented to the nation’s top power forward.  Twice he was tabbed SEC Player of the Week and was a member of the NCAA All-Tournament Midwest Region Team.

PJ was selected 12th overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2019 NBA Draft.  On July 3, 2019, Washington officially signed with the Hornets.  On October 23, 2019, Washington made his debut in NBA, started in a 126–125 win over the Chicago Bulls with 27 points, 4 rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block. He also made 7 three-pointers, the most in an NBA debut in NBA history.  Washington was named 2019–20 NBA All-Rookie Second Team by the NBA.

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