Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
P.J. Washington, the 6-foot-8 forward from Frisco, Texas and Findlay Prep (NV), took his first official visit to Kentucky this past weekend and enjoyed it.
“Really my wife got a chance to see the facilities,” Paul Washington Sr., the Findlay Prep coach and P.J.’s father, said by phone. “P.J. and I went about a year ago visiting, so it was good. He didn’t play with the team, he’s nursing an ankle injury right now. But it was good just to visit with the academic advisors, met with the President of the University, got a chance to be around the players.”
Kentucky freshman big man Bam Adebayo, a projected lottery pick in 2017, hosted Washington on the visit. And Washington also met with Kentucky coach John Calipari,who was coming off visiting 2017 target Nick Richards and 2019 stars Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine last week in New Jersey.
“His message was we need to get the Class of 2017 going, get everybody on board, on the same page,” Washington said. “With a school like this, they are going to have about 5-7 scholarships available, so it’s just a matter of what kids you want to play with and the style of play and that kind of thing.”
Among the players Calipari is also targeting is New Haven (CT) Notre Dame point guard Tremont Waters, who was also on an official to Kentucky this weekend.
“Tremont came on Saturday and Sunday,” Washington said. “We were there Friday and Saturday, so we overlapped for a day.”
The two prospects know one another from the Nike EYBL circuit.
“We visited with his family on Saturday,” Washington said. “This summer he played with Expressions [Elite] so P.J. played him with Team Penny. Knows his game, likes his game.”
Kentucky is involved for several Class of 2017 point guards, including Waters, Trae Young (who visits Oct. 14-16) and Quade Green,who is being pursued heavily by Kentucky and Syracuse.
As for how P.J. liked the visit, his father said, “For the first official visit, it was pretty good. P.J. doesn’t show a lot of emotion so you just never know. But I know he liked it. He’s looking forward to getting them all out the way. He’s a checklist kind of guy, he’s ready to check them all off the list. He doesn’t really want to do all these visits.”
After hosting home visits with his top suitors last week in Las Vegas, Washington now has three more officials planned: North Carolina (Sept. 23-25), Arizona (Oct. 21-23) and Texas (Oct. 28-30). That leaves one more if they opt to take it.
“We’re going to take all the visits so we have something to compare them to,” Washington said.
As far as a timetable, Washington plans to take his visits but also could decide at any time.
“It’s all up to P.J.,” his father said. “My timeframe was to make sure he got his 4-5 official visits out the way and after that he might wake up one morning and say, ‘I want to decide.’ So that’s on him.
“But I wouldn’t let him do it until he had his visits. So we’ll be done with these visits at the end of October.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.