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P.J. Washington picks Kentucky Wildcats; Highlights and Breakdown

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UK has landed one of the top forwards in the class of 2017.

Nike/Jon Lopez

The Kentucky Wildcats have scored a commitment from P.J. Washington.

The five-star wing out of Findlay Prep (NV) announced his decision live on ESPNU's signing day special. He becomes the second member of UK's 2017 class, joining five-star center Nick Richards, who announced his decision earlier Thursday.

Washington is rated as a five-star recruit in all of the major recruiting services. Depending on which service you read, he has been listed as a power forward and small forward, both of which he'll likely play at UK under John Calipari's positionless approach.

ESPN and 247 ranks him as the 16th best player in the 2017 class. His highest ranking is 14th overall by, while has him 19th.

The 6-8, 230-pound forward doesn’t do any one thing at an elite level, but he is one of the most complete prospects in 2017. He can score at all three levels, post up in the paint or play out on the perimeter, and he’s a bulldog defender who will give UK some needed toughness next year with guys like Bam Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe and Malik Monk all likely going pro.

Washington is undersized for a power forward, but he uses his strong 230-pound frame and 7'2 wingspan to make up for whatever he is lacking in height. He has a little Chuck Hayes to his game mixed with a hint of Paul Pierce.

Washington has actually lived in Kentucky before and was even born in Louisville. Paul Washington spoke to the Herald-Leader in July about his past in Kentucky, where his son P.J. was born, and said he has fond memories of living in the state. Paul also talked about his bond with UK’s coaching staff, specifically assistant coach Kenny Payne, who has been key in this recruitment.

P.J. and his family have spent most of their life in Texas, but they’re now at Findlay prep in Nevada, where Paul is the head coach while P.J. gets to play under him. That’s why local college power UNLV was viewed as a darkhorse in his recruitment in addition to the Texas Longhorns, Arizona Wildcats, and North Carolina Tar Heels.

Those were the school that UK had to fend off for Washington, and they’ve managed to do just that as he’ll be signing his NLI soon to officially become a Cat. We’ve still got a week of the early signing period left, so now that Washington has committed, expect UK to announce the signing of Washington and Richards very soon.

Here is an excerpt of Washington's ESPN scouting report.

Strengths: Washington is a long, lean and skilled power forward with that is a terrific finisher on the break. In the halfcourt his mid range game is smooth and efficient. Washington can hit the trial jumper to the arc and does a nice job attacking and finishing along the baseline as well. He is a good rebounder on both ends where he is a tip in threat if not aggressively boxed out.

Weaknesses: In addition to adding strength Washington will need to continue to develop his skills mostly in the area of ball handling and continue to gasp and execute better on the defensive end of the floor both on and off the ball.

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