PJ Washington Announces Return to Kentucky; Entered 2018 NBA Draft Without Agent

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2018

Kentucky's PJ Washington (25) looks for a way around Georgia's Mike Edwards (32) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball quarterfinal game at the Southeastern Conference tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in St. Louis. Kentucky won 62-49. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Kentucky small forward PJ Washington announced Wednesday he's going to withdraw from the 2018 NBA draft and return to the Wildcats for the 2018-19 college basketball season. 

Washington confirmed his decision to play his sophomore campaign on Twitter:

The 19-year-old Kentucky native averaged 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 51.9 percent from the field during his first season with the Wildcats.

Paul Washington, the rising star's father, told Kyle Tucker of SEC Country in April there was no pressure from the family to push the forward into the draft.

"We'll get a chance to look at the season, go over the ups and downs and what decision we feel is best for him," he said. "Kind of like the decision to pick Kentucky, it's going to be PJ. We just want to make sure he understands the decision he's going to make. We don't feel like we're in a hurry [to go to the NBA] from a financial standpoint. We're good from that standpoint, so there's no rush."

It's hard to argue with Washington's decision to play at least one more season with the Wildcats.

He arrived at Kentucky as a 5-star prospect and the No. 15 overall player in the 2017 class, per 247Sports. While he was solid contributor as a freshman, he didn't fully showcase the upside that made him a top recruit.

Washington will be in line for an extensive role next season, though he'll likely cede playing time to incoming 5-star sensation Keldon Johnson.

Another year of development should help his stock looking toward possible entry in the 2019 draft.

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