P.J. Washington is a five-star forward who is ranked No. 16 overall in the ESPN 100 and recently committed to Kentucky. As one of the most productive frontcourt players in the country, regardless of class, he led Team Penny (Tenn.) to the Peach Jam Final Four this summer and helped the USA Basketball U18 team win gold in Chile in July. Now he’s agreed to give USA TODAY HSS exclusive access into his world by chronicling everything from intimate details about his recruitment to his everyday life in a monthly blog.
Hey, what’s up world, it’s P.J. back with another blog and most of you probably just watched me commit to my dream school Kentucky on ESPN!
I’m excited to be a part of #BBN and to have this decision over and done with!
So why Kentucky?
There are a lot of different reasons.
I chose Kentucky because they recruited me the hardest over the longest period of time. Then, of course, you have to look at their track record of developing players and putting them in the NBA, which is my ultimate dream.
Then my relationship with Coach (Kenny) Payne and Coach (John) Calipari was a big factor as well.
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.
Today I crossed off the second goal on that list! I feel like playing at Kentucky will give me the best chance to cross off the third.
That said, this decision was so hard!
I really loved North Carolina and Coach Roy (Williams) and Coach (Steve) Robinson put in a lot of work. Coach Roy put in more time than any other head coach coming out to see me and showing me that it’s really about family at UNC. Then I loved Coach Marvin (Menzies) at UNLV too, I was just so far down the road with the other two schools.
When it came down to my heart and my goals and what I really wanted it had to be Kentucky.
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.
The feeling there is second to none. When you walk in and see the wall of players that Coach Cal has developed is just crazy!
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?
In the end it was a no-brainer.
I feel like the system there best fits my game too.
I see myself as a cross between Draymond Green with my versatility and LeBron James in the way he passes and keeps his teammates involved and gets them the ball.
Now I’m excited to have this decision out of the way and focus on my season with my teammates and my little brother Spencer, who’s in for a big year with us. Then to have my dad coaching me in my last year of high school just makes it even more special.
OK, everybody, again, thanks for reading my blog, I’ll be back soon to update you on how the season is going.
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