LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky sophomore forward PJ Washington (pictured) became an NCAA Consensus All-America selection on Tuesday when he added his fourth major honor as a third-team pick by the Associated Press.
Washington is the first Wildcat to earn consensus All-America distinction since Malik Monk was a second-team choice in 2017. The AP is one of the four “major” NCAA-recognized All-America teams that the NCAA uses for its consensus All-America teams. The other three are the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the Sporting News and the United States Basketball Writers Association. Washington hauled in third-team honors by all four organizations. The NCAA’s consensus All-America teams are comprised of a point system using all four of the organizations for a first-, second- and third-team list.
The Dallas native, was joined on the AP Third Team by De’Andre Hunter (Virginia), Dedric Lawson (Kansas), Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga) and Kyle Guy (Virginia). Washington joins Hunter, Lawson, Clarke, Guy and Mike Daum (South Dakota State) as NCAA Consensus All-America Third Team honorees.
Washington is the 11th player under John Calipari to earn All-America honors by one of the four major organizations. He joins John Wall (2010), DeMarcus Cousins (2010), Anthony Davis (2012), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2012), Julius Randle (2014), Willie Cauley-Stein (2015), Karl-Anthony Towns (2015), Tyler Ulis (2016), Jamal Murray (2016) and Monk (2017) in earning All-America distinction by either the Sporting News, AP, USBWA or the NABC. He is the 39th different player in program history to tally consensus All-America honors and the ninth under Calipari.
Washington averaged 18.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 blocks over his last 18 games played. He suffered a sprained left foot in the second half of the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals against Tennessee on March 16 and did not play in UK’s opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament, but returned to lead the Wildcats to their seventh Elite Eight appearance in 10 seasons under Calipari the following week.
Washington played 26 minutes and scored 16 points against Houston in the Sweet 16. He then gutted out 37 minutes and charted his ninth double-double of the season in an overtime loss to Auburn in the Elite Eight. Washington had 28 points, one shy of his career high, 13 boards, three assists, two blocks and two steals. He was named to the Midwest Regional All-Tournament Team for his efforts.
During his final 18-game stretch, he shot 52.9 percent from the floor and 44.9 from 3-point range. That span also included three straight double-doubles vs. then-No. 9/10 Kansas, at Vanderbilt and at Florida.
Overall, Washington led the Wildcats in both scoring (15.2 points per game) and rebounding (7.5 rpg). After mulling a decision to turn pro after last season, Washington produced career highs in virtually every statistical category in his return for his sophomore season, including a team-high nine double-doubles.
For the season, Washington shot 52.2 percent from the floor and 42.3 percent from 3-point range. A year after hitting just five 3s in 37 games at a 23.8-percent rate, he drained 33 this season.
Perhaps the truest indicator of Washington’s worth this season was his impressive play vs. Kentucky’s best competition. In the 11 games he played vs. Associated Press Top 25 teams, Washington averaged a team-high 17.2 points and added 6.8 rebounds while shooting 54.8 percent.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught