PJ Washington has figured out the basis for a decision about staying in this year’s NBA Draft or playing for Kentucky next season. Now, he has until May 30 to made the decision.
“If I get a second-round guarantee, I’m definitely going back to school,” he told reporters at the NBA Combine on Thursday. “If it’s first round, I believe I should take it. If it’s second round, I believe I should come back.”
With NBA teams famously unwilling to tip their hands on their draft intentions, how can Washington and most other prospects here be confident about their precise draft position?
“I don’t know,” Washington said. “We’ll figure it out.”
If Washington is leaning toward the NBA or UK, he did not make it apparent.
“Man, right now, I’m just out here playing,” he said. “Right now, I’m 50-50. I won’t have a decision until, obviously, next week some time.”
Washington said he had worked out for the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers. He expects to work out for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz next week, and then decide.
When asked why he would return to Kentucky if projected as a second-round pick, Washington spoke of how UK can win big.
“A lot of talent coming in next year,” he said, “and just to be part of that would be special as well.”
When asked how he would want to contribute to Kentucky’s team next season, Washington said, “Just be more versatile. Continue to be myself. Show people I can shoot. I feel I didn’t do a good job of that this year. Extend my range, and show I can shoot the ball.”
Washington said he and two other teammates on the NBA/UK fence (Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel) have talked about adding a veteran stability to another freshman-dependent Kentucky team next season. But he said he did not know how that might impact each player’s decision.
Washington posted a double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds) in a five-on-five game at the Combine on Thursday. He did this with his pinkie taped together with the ring finger on his left hand. He said he injured the pinkie in a UK practice in January and played the rest of the season in pain.
“It hurts when people hit it,” he said. “If they don’t hit it, I’m fine.”