UK Men's Basketball

Four UK players expected at NBA Combine. See who’s invited and what they’ll do there.

What did Morgan Freeman say to UK’s PJ Washington?

During warm-ups, actor Morgan Freeman called UK’s PJ Washington over before Kentucky’s 80-76 win over Ole Miss on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. What did Freeman, an Ole Miss season-ticket holder, say to the sophomore forward?
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During warm-ups, actor Morgan Freeman called UK’s PJ Washington over before Kentucky’s 80-76 win over Ole Miss on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. What did Freeman, an Ole Miss season-ticket holder, say to the sophomore forward?

Kentucky will have a presence in the upcoming NBA Combine, which will be held in Chicago the week after next. PJ Washington, Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson have accepted invitations to participate in the annual pre-draft event.

Neither Washington, Herro nor Johnson plan to play in the five-on-five games staged at the Combine, their fathers said Saturday. Each will do athletic and medical testing, plus be interviewed by NBA teams.

A fourth UK player, EJ Montgomery, has reportedly accepted an invitation to participate in the Combine and plans to play in the five-on-five games. There’s no word yet on an invitation for Kentucky forward Reid Travis, who has exhausted his collegiate eligibility.

The Combine is scheduled for May 12-19. Players from the G League will participate the first two days. Then players from college will go through the process beginning May 14.

The official participant list for the Combine is expected to be released by the NBA next week. Former UK player Charles Matthews, who transferred to Michigan after his freshman season, has accepted an invitation to this year’s Combine, The Detroit News reported. Last year, 69 players attended the by-invitation-only event staged to help NBA teams evaluate draft prospects.

The NBA Draft is June 20. Montgomery and UK teammate Nick Richards entered their names in this year’s draft while keeping open the option of playing for Kentucky next season. The NCAA’s deadline for withdrawing from this year’s NBA Draft and retaining college eligibility is May 29.

Projections in mock drafts on when UK players would be selected vary. For example, Washington has been seen as early as 12th (CBSSports) and as late as 27th (NBADraft.net).

“We’re hoping for the lottery,” Chris Johnson said when asked about the feedback on when his son Keldon might be drafted. “But a lot of teams say he is in the top 10. From six to eight.”

The elder Johnson said Keldon has also heard that a selection at No. 20 is possible.

“Whatever team gets him, it’s going to be a blessing,” Chris Johnson said. “And we’ll go from there.”

Keldon Johnson plans to go to Phoenix, Ariz., to train for the draft, his father said.

Herro is scheduled to leave Sunday to train in New York, his father said. The former UK player wants to get stronger and quicker in his pre-draft training.

Meanwhile, the parents of Washington, Johnson and Herro were at Churchill Downs on Saturday for the Kentucky Derby.

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