Washington to test NBA Draft waters


Kentucky freshman forward PJ Washington talks to media in the locker room during the game against Davidson College in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. Kentucky defeated Davidson 78-73. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Kernel Sports Staff

On Tuesday afternoon, PJ Washington announced that he will declare for the 2018 NBA Draft, but he will not hire an agent.

By not hiring an agent, Washington has the option to return to UK for his sophomore season if he decides to. The deadline to pull your name out of the draft is June 11 at 5 p.m. ET, a little under a month after the NBA Combine.

“After meeting with Coach Cal and talking through my situation, I am going to test the waters and see where I stand after my freshman year,” Washington said in a statement on Twitter. “I want fans to know that I love school, I love this program, and I love Kentucky. I am not in a hurry to make any type of decision but Coach believes I should evaluate where I am right now.”

Washington is likely the first of many UK players to announce their intentions for next season. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox are expected to announce their decisions this week according to reports, but other UK players such as Hamidou Diallo or Jarred Vanderbilt might test the NBA waters with Washington. 

Washington finished his freshman season averaging 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds. Washington rounded into form late in the season, scoring in double figures in 11 of his final 12 games of the season. 

Washington also lead the Cats in double doubles, notching the statline on three separate occasions during the season.

“PJ and I met and talked this week about his future and the process that he would be able to go through if he chose to,” UK head coach John Calipari said in a press release. “I think it’s very important that each kid understands where he stands at this point in the eyes of professionals. He’s improved physically and mentally. His ability to win playing winning basketball isn’t even close to where it was at the beginning of the season. I’ve seen a tremendous growth in all those areas. Like all these kids, I would like to continue to coach PJ, but I’m going to support him as he goes through this process.”

Washington won’t likely be a lottery pick unless he excels and impresses teams during the draft process. A lot of mock drafts project Washington to be off the board in the second round, while some don’t even think Washington will be drafted.

Washington was also supposed to have surgery on his pinky in the offseason, but that will likely be delayed due to Washington’s announcement.