This week, UK announced that forward Keldon Johnson was tabbed as a finalist for the Julius Erving, while forward Reid Travis was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. On Thursday, UK announced that forward PJ Washington was also up as a finalist to be nationally recognized.
Washington, thriving in his sophomore campaign at Kentucky, was listed as one of 10 finalists in the running to receive the Karl Malone Ward. The award will honor the nation’s best power forward for the 2018-19 season.
With the award dating back to just 2015, Washington is looking to become the first Wildcat to receive the honor. Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell was the first recipient, followed by Georges Niang (Iowa State), Johnathan Motley (Baylor) and Deandre Ayton (Arizona).
Joining Washington as a finalist and representative from the Southeastern Conference is Tennessee’s Grant Williams.
For what was an up-and-down start to the season, Washington has certainly asserted himself in becoming the team’s leader as the Wildcats are thriving. The sophomore is the reigning Co-SEC Player of the Week and has led Kentucky to nine-consecutive wins.
Over his last five games, Washington is averaging nearly a double-double of 20.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per contest. For the season, he’s scored an average of 13.8 PPG and is leading the team in rebounding with 8.3 per game.
Like Kentucky Football star Josh Allen, Washington’s return to school has certainly boosted his stock for a professional career, as he’s now locked into being a first-round pick this year and could sneak into the lottery.