P.J. Washington, a 6’7″, 232 pound five-star 2017 power forward, has increased his stock drastically this summer with monster performances on the Nike EYBL Circuit and at the U18 FIBA Americas Championship.
With schools likely looking to jump in the mix for Washington’s services, the big man has opted to chop his recruiting list to eight schools: UCLA, Arizona, North Carolina State, Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, UNLV and North Carolina.
Final 8😎🙌🏽✊🏽 pic.twitter.com/vMh7vdUSQD
— Paul Washington Jr (@PJWashington) August 3, 2016
Washington is a native of Frisco, Texas, but plays his high school basketball in Las Vegas at Findlay College Prep. He is ranked 16th overall on ESPN’s top 100 for the class of 2017, is the top player from the state of Texas and is the fourth best power forward in the country.
Playing with Team Penny on the Nike EYBL Circuit, Washington made Second Team All-EYBL after averaging 17.4 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. He shot an efficient 62 percent from the field, was active defensively (1.1 steals per game) and led Team Penny to the semifinals of Peach Jam (before losing to the PSA Cardinals by two).
The tough forward averaged 10.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and shot 61 percent from the field in the FIBA U18 Americas Championship. He helped lead Team USA to an undefeated record in the tournament and a gold medal game victory over Canada.
Washington will be a terrific player at the college level because of his strong frame, length (7’1″ wingspan), toughness and high skill level. He is a excellent transition player as he is capable of finishing on the break with authority and filling the lanes successfully.
While he doesn’t have a consistent three point shot, Washington has a solid mid-range game and has developing range on his jumper. He is very undersized for a power forward at 6’7″, but he impacts the game in numerous ways and is a tremendous rebounder because of his long arms and athleticism.
Any of these eight programs would be pleased to add Washington, who will give them plenty of versatility. He possesses the ability to face up (from there he can either attack and shoot a mid-range shot or take the defender off the bounce), and operate on the low block with a plethora of post moves.
Add on the smarts and intelligence to time his blocked shots defensively, and Washington could be a force in any conference, on any team.
Rick Barnes Says He Would Have Left Tennessee if UCLA Paid Buyout
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes could have been the next head coach for UCLA, instead of Mick Cronin, if only the Bruins were willing to open up their wallets.
Barnes says that if UCLA would have promised to pay Barnes’ $5 million buyout, he would have left Tennessee to take the job at UCLA.
“I think I would’ve been the coach at UCLA,” Barnes said (h/t ESPN). “I’ve said that to people before. I really felt at that time that’s what would happen.”
Barnes was honest and open with his decision process during the news conference, saying that he struggled with making a final decision due to financial matters.
Barnes has since agreed to a new deal with Tennessee that will pay him $4 million per year before increasing to a $6 million annual sum by the end of the contract and provide more cash for his assistants.
“I’m supposed to be at Tennessee,” Barnes said. “And it’s really above and beyond the basketball program. I’m in love with this community. I’m in love with this state. I just think we got a lot of great things going on in this town.”
“A lot of praying went into it, I can tell you that,” Barnes said. “There was a lot going on. When you get down to a situation like that, it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. Bottom line is we couldn’t work it out with the buyout.”
Barnes also informed UCLA that he would not depart Knoxville without talking to athletic director Phillip Fulmer and others in the community.
I told them point blank, ‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with my team,'” Barnes said. “‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with people here that have been really good to me.’ … I said, ‘You just can’t say send a plane tomorrow and we’re leaving. I’m going to make sure this is done the right way.'”
“There was one time in my mind I truly felt that’s what would happen,” Barnes said about potentially taking the UCLA offer. “It got to that point where I felt like my prayers had been answered.”
The Madness is Underway
As we inch closer to selection Sunday, many conference tournaments are underway finding teams who will automatically make the NCAA Men’s basketball. Here are the teams that currently in the tournament:
Atlantic Sun: Liberty
Big South: Gardner–Webb
Horizon: Northern Kentucky
Missouri Valley: Bradley
MEC: Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley: Murray State
Summit League: North Dakota State
Summit League: Saint Marry’s
Out of the 32 conferences with automatic bids in the tournament, 12 of them have been clinched. All the until selection Sunday the remaining 20 conferences will have their tickets punched. Who will that be? Stay tuned!
Tennessee Basketball Ranked 4th In (Early) Preseason Top 25
A school built on football lure now has a thriving basketball team to get behind. In a early CBS basketball poll, the Volunteer squad is ranked 4th in the preseason. This should bring relief to a fan base whose struggled with a lackluster football team in recent years.
Under Coach Rick Barnes (SEC Coach of the year 2017) the Vols went 26-9 last year, won a share of the regular season SEC title and reached the final of the SEC tournament. Tennessee should return most of their pivotal pieces for the 2018-19 season.
Admiral Schofield (2017-2018 ALL SEC second teamer) who tested the NBA waters has returned for his senior year to play along side Grant Williams (SEC player of the year) and Kyle Alexander. If they can stay healthy along with the supporting cast, this team has a legitimate chance to reach the final four.
According to Andy Katz, “Tennessee is the team to beat in the SEC this year,” and did I mention Coach Barnes recruiting is nothing to take lightly. Recently committed 5 star combo guard, Josiah James added his name to the class of 2019 and pushed the Vols recruiting into the top 10 nationally.
Although it’s too early to tell how this season will play out its certain the hype is warranted and reaching heights it hasn’t seen since the Bruce Pearl era.
Could it be!? Tennessee – a basketball school?
Follow the journey when the Volunteers tip off against Louisiana Lafayette on November 9th.
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