UK Men's Basketball

‘Hard work paying off.’ Three UK players invited to NBA Draft.

Keldon Johnson: A look back at the Kentucky guard’s 2018-19 season

University of Kentucky men’s basketball player Keldon Johnson played one season in Lexington before announcing he would enter the NBA Draft.
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University of Kentucky men’s basketball player Keldon Johnson played one season in Lexington before announcing he would enter the NBA Draft.

Kentucky will have a presence in the “green room” at this year’s NBA Draft.

The fathers of PJ Washington and Tyler Herro said Thursday that their sons had been invited to attend the NBA Draft, which will be in New York next Thursday night. A third former UK player, Keldon Johnson, reportedly has also been invited.

The NBA usually invites about 15-20 players it expects to be first-round picks.

“It’s typically the M.O. of the draft,” Chris Herro said of an invitation to the draft carrying a message.

Plus, his son’s agent would want some assurance of an invitation being a good sign.

University of Kentucky men’s basketball player PJ Washington played two seasons in Lexington before announcing he would enter the NBA Draft.

“He doesn’t want you sitting there looking dumb if you’re the 30th pick,” the elder Herro said of his son’s agent. “He sort of does his homework to make sure there’s quite a bit of interest.”

And then, “you just pray for the best,” Chris Herro said.

Paul Washington also saw the NBA inviting his son to the draft as a good thing.

“We feel it’s a lot of hard work paying off,” he said of the family’s reaction to the invitation, “and we’re just kind of anxious to see where he goes, what team picks him and who’ll he be playing for here shortly.

“Just kind of excited, but also kind of nervous.”

Several mock drafts have Washington, Herro and Johnson being picked in the first round. With teams typically not willing to divulge their plans and contingencies, the mock drafts involve educated guesswork.

University of Kentucky men’s basketball player Tyler Herro played one season in Lexington before announcing he would enter the NBA Draft.



Paul Washington said he guessed his son could be drafted anywhere from the eighth to the 20th pick.

“I guess it all depends on who you want to believe,” he said of the mock drafts. “You just never know. It’s a big range.”

Both Paul Washington and Chris Herro said the draft will be a family affair. The Herro family plans to travel to New York on Monday. The Washington family plans to arrive on Tuesday.

When asked about taking in the sights or a play while in New York, Chris Herro said, “I don’t think I can go and sit in a play right now and just watch something. I think I’d be too nervous.”

Paul Washington said the NBA offers families activities beyond the draft night.

“I think, really, we’re just there to celebrate,” he said. “And we’re really there for the draft. I doubt we do too much other stuff.”

University of Kentucky men’s basketball player Reid Travis played his final season in Lexington after starting his career at Stanford.

2019 NBA Draft

When: June 20, 8:30 p.m.

Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

TV: ESPN

No. 1 pick: New Orleans Pelicans

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