Top Priority P.J. Washington Reflects On UNC Visit

Top 25 forward was in Chapel Hill this week.

CERRITOS, Calif. — P.J. Washington figured out early what he’s likely to encounter this weekend at the Pangos All-American Camp.

The 6-7, 220-pound forward likely will have to generate his own offense rather than play through his teammates the way he does on the EYBL circuit, but over the course of his first outing here on Friday night he became increasingly aggressive as a ballhandler and slasher.

Washington is one of the highest touted players in attendance, and on his flight west he brought with him chatter that accompanied his sudden visit to the Triangle this week.

The rising senior forward took unofficial trips to North Carolina and N.C. State, and the Tar Heels — which have made him a top priority — were more than happy to play host on Thursday.

”The facilities were great and it was great just getting to be around the coaches more,” Washington said. “I really liked the experience.”

The timing certainly caught most everyone off guard, including Washington himself.

”Actually, I came back from Atlanta (from an EYBL event) and my Dad didn’t tell me we were going until the next day,” Washington said with a laugh. “So we got back and went right back out there (to the East Coast).”

Steve Robinson primarily served as Washington’s guide on the trip, and Roy Williams — recovering from knee replacement surgery — was able to join as well.

”I was mostly with Coach Robinson just seeing everything, and then Coach Williams came in at the end,” Washington said. “He’s looking good. He’s still on the little roller with the tennis balls, but he’s doing alright.”

Washington has led Team Penny to a highly impressive 14-2 record on the prestigious EYBL circuit this spring, averaging 17.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game while shooting 62 percent from the field. He will finish out the summer with Team Penny and also participate in USA Basketball.

From there, he’ll advance his recruitment into its final stages.

”My timetable hasn’t changed,” he said. “The plan is still to set up officials and then go from there. I’m planning to make one to North Carolina again in the fall.”

Some of the other major contenders for Washington are Arizona, Cal, Kentucky, Michigan State, Oregon, UCLA and Texas.

The Tar Heels do enjoy some built-in familiarity on the player side as well. Incoming freshman Tony Bradley and Washington got to know each other last year.

”I played with Tony at Global Games last year,” he said. “We don’t really talk much, but I loved playing with him. He’s a guy I would love to play with. He does all the little things and makes it real easy on me.”

As for how he’d fit at UNC, the coaching staff continues to pitch his versatility and the opportunities he’d enjoy to exploit his physical and skill advantages.

”They’re still telling me they’d have me play the mismatches,” he said. “I would take little guys down low and big men out high and drive past them.”


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