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By LARRY VAUGHT Sometimes Paul Washington Sr. admits he gets a bit frustrated when his son, P.J. Washington, seems to be judged just by how many points he scores in a game. “You can look at scoring, but he’s just a winner. If his team needs him to score 20, he’ll do it. If it needs five points and eight rebounds, he’ll do that. He’s not a guy who is unhappy if someone else scores 20 points, he gets five and the team wins,” Paul Washington said. “If you watch, you will see him celebrating a great pass as much as a 3 or dunk. Sometimes I think the media just believes 20 points is a good game but there’s a lot more to his game than that.” The UK sophomore’s father says his son’s defense and ability to stretch the floor with his improved 3-point shooting is often overlooked by some along with his rebounding. “He can score but look at the way he guarded Luke Maye in that North Carolina game. That was bigger than scoring,” Paul Washington, a former prep school coach, said. “As a coach’s son, he knows the game and understands what is coming. If you look, you can see the growth he’s had in his game since last year.” ESPN analyst Dick Vitale was critical of PJ Washington for not consistently putting up big scoring and rebounding numbers like he has done in some games. — Early in the season he averaged 21 points, 12 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in consecutive games against North Dakota, VMI and Winthrop. He had a career-high 18 rebounds against VMI. — Against Seton Hall he had a career-best 29 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and four assists. He went 12-for-13 at the foul line. — In UK’s win over North Carolina, he had 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to just miss becoming only the fourth UK player ever with a triple-double. — Last week against Mississippi State he led UK with 21 points and made three 3-pointers to go along with six rebounds and four blocks. In the win over No. 9 Kansas Saturday, he had his second straight 20-point game — the first time he’s done that — and had 20 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks, one assist and one steal. So why hasn’t he had numbers like that in more games? “Sometimes I’ll get lackadaisical and won’t get a rebound or something, and that’s when he (UK coach John Calipari) will take me out,” Washington said. “Then, when I come back in, I just try to get the flow going and try to be aggressive. I just feel like the past three games, I came out aggressive from the get-go. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve been working on, just trying to keep moving on and keep playing 40 minutes like that. I think that’s the biggest thing for me.” So why hasn’t he had numbers like that in more games? “Sometimes I’ll get lackadaisical and won’t get a rebound or something, and that’s when he (UK coach John Calipari) will take me out,” Washington said. “Then, when I come back in, I just try to get the flow going and try to be aggressive.” What makes him get lackadaisical? “I have no idea,” Washington said. “If I knew that, it wouldn’t slow down.” Calipari admits he can get “angry” with Washington when he plays without a full motor. “We just have to tell him it is not acceptable (to play that way),” Calipari said. ”When I don’t see that motor, it drives me nuts. You should be the best player in the country. So what would lead you not to go after these dudes every minute and then say, ‘Coach, can you give me three or four minutes, let get my breath and I’ll be ready to go and then go kill them again’ and everybody across the country is talking about PJ Washington. “You can’t be afraid of being the best. Be the best. But you know what? It’s hard. And how about this? Living up to it every game? Even harder.” Washington is averaging 12.3 points, a team-high 7.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 blocks per game and is being projected as a mid first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He put his name into the draft after his freshman season but opted to come back to UK after being evaluated by NBA personnel. “If he had been guaranteed he would be a first-round pick, he would have left. He wasn’t, so he came back. That’s what we said from day one,” Paul Washington said. “It was never that he didn’t like Kentucky or college. But when you don’t say anything to people, they just come up with news like some did about him not wanting to be back at UK. “He enjoyed the team last year. It has a totally different dynamic this year. It’s truly a family. There have been some peaks and valleys but this is truly a team and Cal and his staff have done a great job getting this team to where it is now.”

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