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ESPN's Paul Biancardi Calls PJ Washington Most “Interesting' Player In UK's Recruiting Class

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By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky having a number one recruiting class like it apparently will have this year is nothing new. After all, coach John Calipari has had the top class or the number two class for nine straight years.

But with such a loaded class, who is likely to eventually be the best player?

Paul Biancardi, ESPN’s national recruiting director, says all the UK signees are special or they would not be coming to play for Calipari. However, he’s most intrigued by 6-7 PJ Washington of Findlay Prep (Las Vegas).

He’s ranked among the nation’s top 15 players in the 2017 recruiting class but many feel he will be rated even higher when the final recruiting rankings are compiled after the season.

“I think the most interesting player in John’s recruiting class is PJ,” said Biancardi. “I think he brings the highest skill level to to the court of any of the signees.”

That’s high praise when the signing class includes guard Quade Green, center Nick Richards, forward Jared Vanderbilt, wing Hamidou Diallo and guard Shai Alexander.

Washington will be playing in Kentucky this weekend at the Kentucky Lake Showcase in Marshall County as part of The Grind Session. His team plays Hopkinsville, one of the top teams in Kentucky this year, on Friday night and faces Tennessee Prep Saturday night. The event also includes Arizona signee De’Andre Ayton and Duke signee Gary Trent Jr., two of the nation’s top five ranked recruits.

Biancardi has only one question about Washington.

“You never know how he will defend. I thought De’Aaron Fox and Wenyen Gabriel would be great defenders this year for Kentucky and I am not sure why they are not,” Biancardi said. “But he has all the tools to be a good defender. He’ll learn what it takes”

On the offensive end, Biancardi has no doubts about what Washington can do.

“He has that unique ability to play near the basket and play facing the basket,” Biancardi said. “He has great versatility. He is also battled tested. His body can hold up.

“He brings a completeness to scoring and rebounding. Plays with great energy. He is mature,” Biancardi said. “He has a goal to make it to the NBA and is focused on that and doing everything he can to make that happen. He is ready to give his all at Kentucky.

“He knows that Cal has the recipe to where if gives his all, Cal can get him where he wants to be. He has a great upside and I think he will be a highly, highly productive player for Kentucky.”

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