The Evolution of PJ Washington From Kentucky to NBA

Paul Jamaine Washington Jr. (PJ Washington) was born on August 23, 1998, in Louisville, Kentucky. His early life was marked by several relocations, with his family moving from Louisville to St. Louis and Chicago before finally settling in Frisco, Texas. Washington’s parents, both former basketball players at Middle Tennessee State University, played a significant role in his early development.

His father transitioned to a career as a General Manager at a car sales company and also took up coaching Washington’s middle school basketball team. His mother pursued a teaching career at the same school. Washington has a brother, Spencer, and a sister, Alexandria, who also share a passion for sports.

High School Career

Washington’s high school basketball journey began at Prime Prep Academy in Dallas. He then had a brief stint at Lone Star High School in Frisco before transferring to Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada. At Findlay Prep, Washington played alongside other top recruits like Allonzo Trier and Derryck Thornton.

His junior year statistics were impressive, averaging 16.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. Washington also played for Team Penny, an AAU team sponsored by former NBA star Penny Hardaway, on the Nike EYBL circuit. His senior year performance was stellar, with averages of 19.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game. These achievements earned him spots in the 2017 Jordan Brand Classic and McDonald’s All-American Game.

College Career at Kentucky

Freshman Year
Washington joined the University of Kentucky Wildcats as a highly rated recruit, ranked No. 12 overall and No. 3 among power forwards in the 2017 high school class by,, and ESPN. His freshman year was challenging due to a pinkie injury that required surgery, but he still managed to average 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. In the NCAA Tournament, he delivered a standout performance against Kansas State, leading Kentucky with 18 points and 15 rebounds despite the team’s loss.

Sophomore Year
Deciding to return for his sophomore season, Washington significantly improved his game. He averaged 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, shooting an impressive 52.2% from the field and 42.3% from beyond the arc. His efforts helped Kentucky reach the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. Following the 2019 season, Washington declared for the NBA Draft, forgoing his final two years of eligibility.

Professional Career

Charlotte Hornets (2019–2024)
Washington was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 12th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He made an immediate impact, debuting on October 23, 2019, with a historic performance against the Chicago Bulls. He scored 27 points, including 7 three-pointers, the most ever made by a player in their NBA debut. Throughout his rookie season, Washington demonstrated his versatility and scoring ability, earning a spot on the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

PJ Washington Charlotte Hornets

Washington continued to develop in his subsequent seasons with the Hornets. On February 28, 2021, he scored a then career-high 42 points in a victory over the Sacramento Kings. His growth was evident in his improved statistics and increasing responsibility on the court. In the 2022–23 season, he achieved a career-high average of 15.7 points per game. Despite some ups and downs, including dealing with injuries, Washington remained a key player for the Hornets.

Trade to Dallas Mavericks
On February 8, 2024, Washington was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, alongside two future second-round picks, in exchange for Seth Curry, Grant Williams, and a 2027 first-round pick. He quickly made his mark with the Mavericks, debuting on February 10 with 14 points, five rebounds, and a steal in a dominant win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Washington continued to be a valuable asset, notably scoring 32 points and hitting a game-winner against the Golden State Warriors on April 5.

PJ Washington Dallas Mavericks

Playoff Performance
Washington’s competitive spirit was on full display during the 2024 playoffs. In a first-round matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, he was ejected in Game 3 following a confrontation with Russell Westbrook. Despite this setback, Washington’s performance was crucial in helping the Mavericks advance. In the Western Conference Semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder, he led the team with 27 points in a pivotal Game 3 victory.

Playing Style and Strengths
Washington is known for his versatility on the court. His ability to play both forward positions allows him to adapt to various matchups. Offensively, Washington has a reliable mid-range jumper and can stretch the floor with his three-point shooting. His strength and athleticism make him a formidable presence in the paint, both as a scorer and rebounder. Defensively, Washington’s quickness and agility enable him to guard multiple positions effectively. His shot-blocking ability and anticipation skills add another layer to his defensive ability.

PJ Washington Personal Life

Family and Relationships
In October 2023, Washington married Alisah Chanel, with whom he has a son named Preston. He also has another son, Paul Jermaine Washington III, born in 2021 with social media personality Brittany Renner. Washington’s family life has been a source of support and motivation throughout his basketball career.

PJ Washington Wife Alisah Chanel

Off the Court
Off the court, Washington is involved in various community initiatives. He has participated in basketball camps for young athletes, sharing his knowledge and passion for the game. Washington’s commitment to giving back to the community highlights his character and dedication to making a positive impact beyond basketball.

Career Statistics

NBA Regular Season
Washington’s NBA career has been marked by consistent performance and improvement. His regular season statistics as of 2024 are as follows:

2019–20: 12.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.1 APG
2020–21: 12.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.5 APG
2021–22: 10.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.3 APG
2022–23: 15.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.4 APG
2023–24: 11.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.5 APG (with the Mavericks)

Also Read: Becky Hammon Reflects on WNBA’s Popularity and the Legacy of Women Before Caitlin Clark

College Statistics

At Kentucky, Washington’s college career stats reflect his growth and impact on the court:

2017–18: 10.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG
2018–19: 15.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG

PJ Washington Kentucky


Paul Jamaine Washington Jr.’s journey from a high school standout to a professional NBA player showcases his dedication, talent, and resilience. His early life and family background provided a strong foundation, while his college and professional career have been marked by significant achievements and continuous improvement. As he continues with the Dallas Mavericks, Washington’s future in the NBA looks promising, with many more milestones to be achieved.

Through his hard work and determination, Washington has become a role model for aspiring basketball players, demonstrating that success is possible with the right mix of talent, effort, and support.

Kishan Singh is the Visionary Founder and Driving Force Behind Crazy Hoops. With a Deep Passion for Basketball and Talent of Storytelling, his background in Sports Journalism and Digital media allows him to Create engaging and informative content that resonates with Readers.

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