I think the Big Blue Nation is really going to like PJ Washington when he moves to Lexington next fall. He’s very talented, but also seems to have a great personality and attitude.
Also, he wrote a blog post for USA Today HSS explaining why he chose Kentucky and it is a great recruiting pitch for the top high school players in America as to why they should come to UK.
Kentucky was naturally one of the top choices for Washington, seeing as he was born in the state, but one really interesting part of his post was how long he has known he wanted to play for Kentucky.
“The truth is I’ve been a Kentucky fan ever since around the third grade. Most people don’t know that I was born in Kentucky so it feels good to be coming back home.
Back in the sixth grade I set three goals: Play for gold with USA Basketball, play at Kentucky and play in the NBA.”
Washington has crossed two of those off his list, and John Calipari’s track record of putting players in the NBA sure makes that third one look like it will be coming soon.
For Washington, he said that there were several things that drew him to Kentucky. Obviously the aforementioned idea of coming back to Kentucky was attractive, but he also mentioned Kentucky’s track record of putting players in the NBA, Kentucky recruited him the hardest for the longest, and a strong relationship with Calipari and Assistant Coach Kenny Payne.
It was not always a given that Washington would be a Wildcat. While his recruitment seemed to lean toward Kentucky, North Carolina and UNLV were tough to turn down. Washington said he had strong relationships with the coaching staffs at the other two schools, but it wasn’t enough to change his mind.
The turning point of the recruitment was Big Blue Madness a few weeks ago. Remember how we talked about how much of a recruiting tool bringing back the former players would be? If you had any doubts about that making a major impact on a high school kid’s recruitment, Washington put that crazy idea to rest.
“I think, in hindsight, after Big Blue Madness was when things really changed for me. Just seeing players like John Wall, Willie Cauley-Stein and DeMarcus Cousins come back and see what they’ve done already and see how the fans treated them was big. It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before.”
Washington also said that he believes Kentucky’s system fits him well, and says that he sees himself as a cross between Draymond Green with his versatility and LeBron James in how he passes the ball and keeps his teammates involved.
My favorite part of Washington’s blog was this analogy about choosing Kentucky over other schools.
“It’s like if I told you that you can buy a lottery ticket at this gas station and they’ve had 29 winners in six years, would you buy it there or would you go down the street?”
Again, I think fans are really going to like PJ Washington when he comes to UK.
You can read his blog post in full here.