April 9, 2019 / 8:09 PM / 9 days ago

Draft notebook: SEC stars Washington, Williams enter draft

Kentucky standout sophomore PJ Washington declared for the NBA draft on Tuesday and will hire an agent, the school announced.

FILE PHOTO: Mar 31, 2019; Kansas City, MO, United States; Kentucky Wildcats forward PJ Washington (25) shoots over Auburn Tigers forward Horace Spencer (0) during the first half in the championship game of the midwest regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

“This place has been my home for two years and it’s hard for me to put in words how much I’ve grown in my time at Kentucky. The staff challenged me from day one to become the best version of myself and to work hard to become one of the best players in college basketball. I feel like I’ve done that,” Washington said in a statement posted on the Wildcats’ website.

The 6-foot-8 forward ends his career with 932 points, 476 rebounds, 120 assists and 74 blocks. He led the Wildcats in scoring (15.2) and rebounding (7.5) in the 2018-19 season. He also posted nine double-doubles and shot 52.2 percent from the floor, including 42.3 percent from the 3-point line.

Washington earned first-team All-SEC and third-team All-America honors. He is projected to be a mid-first-round pick by ESPN.

—Two-time SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams said he is entering the NBA draft but will remain open to returning to school for his senior season.

“My whole thing is I want to go into the process with an open mind and understand what I need to improve on and what I need to get better at, while also understanding I have to make the most informed decision possible,” said Williams, who has until May 29 to make up his mind. “If it is the right time, then it is the right time.”

The 6-foot-7 Williams averaged 18.8 points and 7.5 rebounds this season while earning first-team All-America honors.

-Michigan forward Ignas Brazdeikis, the 2018-19 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and teammates Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole announced they will declare for the draft.

“As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an NBA player — not just an NBA player, but an NBA All-Star,” said the 6-foot-7 Brazdeikis, a Canadian who averaged 14.8 points and 5.4 boards in 37 starts with the Wolverines.

Matthews, a junior guard, averaged 12.2 points and 5.0 rebounds this season, while Poole, a sophomore guard, averaged 12.8 points.

—St. John’s junior guard Justin Simon declared for the draft and his decision was announced by RZA Sports, the entity that will represent him.

Simon averaged 10.4 points and posted 50 steals while earning Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors.

—Israel’s Yovel Zoosman has submitted paperwork to the league office to become eligible for the draft, according to ESPN.

Ranked No. 58 in the ESPN Top 100, the 20-year-old wing player was named MVP of the FIBA U20 European Championship last July after leading the Israeli national team to the championship in Germany.

—Field Level Media

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