Eighteen years ago, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) forward P.J. Washington was born at Norton Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.
He left the state for good a year later.
But on Thursday, Washington announced his intentions to come back to his Bluegrass State roots, committing to Kentucky over North Carolina and UNLV.
“Kentucky has been my dream school ever since I was a kid,” said Washington, who is ranked No. 16 overall in the ESPN 100. “They’ve been there the longest and they’ve recruited me the hardest. When you look at their track record with getting players to the NBA and my relationship with Coach (Kenny) Payne and Coach (John) Calipari it was a no-brainer for me.”
Last season, Washington averaged 16 points and nine rebounds a game for the Pilots, who made the DICK’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals tournament.
This past summer, Washington led Team Penny (Tenn.) to the Peach Jam Final Four, pumping in 17.4 points and 11 rebounds a game.
In July, he helped USA Men’s U18 National Team go 5-0 and win the gold medal at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile, averaging 10 points and four rebounds a game.
“I set goals back in the sixth grade to play for USA Basketball, play at Kentucky and play in the NBA,” Washington said. “Now that I picked Kentucky I’ve accomplished two of those and I feel like this gives me the best chance to finish the third one too.”
Washington joins The Patrick School (Newark, N.J.) center Nick Richards to form the Wildcats’ 2017 class to this point.
Here’s what the Wildcats are getting in P.J. Washington.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY