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P.J. Washington on Kevin Knox, Big Blue Madness, Team USA, Chuck Hayes

P.J. Washington has never seen video of Chuck Hayes. (Denise Henderson Photo)

By BETH KING, Contributing Writer

Kentucky held its annual Media Day Thursday and one of the players being counted on for big production this year is freshman forward P.J. Washington. Here’s some of what he had to say.

Question: I’d like to talk about Kevin Knox, he seems to be really clicking these last few days. Have you seen that as well?
P.J.:” Yea, I mean Kevin, he’s coming along. When he first got here, he was kind of timid and shy, but now he is more aggressive and getting to the rack and playing his game.

Question: Have you gotten to that point yet?
P.J.:” Yea, I would say that I’m a lot more aggressive since I first got here. I am more comfortable with the coaching staff and the players.”

Question: How do you guys come together as a team and make it work?
P.J.:” Two words, bonding off the floor and spending time with each other. Making sure that we have each other’s backs and stuff like that. And making sure we have a family environment.”

Question: How did the Team USA experience benefit you coming here this season?
P.J.: ” It benefited a lot because I got see how Coach Cal coaches. I got to play with Hamidou (Diallo). Basically seeing those two and me him together can see what we can do together this year and some different sets we can run and stuff like that adjusting to his coaching style.

Question: You had obviously been around Cal a lot before that, were there any surprises in the way he coached you once you were over there?
P.J.:” Not really, because he said all of that in the recruiting process. He was honest with me. When we got to Egypt, it was just straight, straight forward and he is a well organized coach, I mean, he does what he says and I just love him.

Question: You were at Big Blue Madness last season?
P.J.:” Yeah, I came last year.”

Question: From a recruit’s point of view, what was that experience like?
P.J.:” It was great, I mean, I haven’t seen anything like it. It was like my first midnight madness,  just the environment with the crowd and everything, it was loud and I was just excited, I was excited to be there.

Question: You weren’t committed yet at that point, right?
P.J. ;” No. I wasn’t committed, it was soon after that.”

Question: Did that have any bearing on your decision? Just like that whole experience? That whole weekend?

P.J.:” Yeah, with the fans and everything, how the fans interacted with me; they knew my name and everything like that.  It was great’ I felt like this was home.”

Question: You are being compared to ex-Wildcat Chuck Hayes, how does that feel?
P.J. :” Honestly, I’ve never seen him play, so I wouldn’t know.”

Question: Do you like to be compared to former UK players, does that put more pressure on you or motivate you more?
P.J.:”I mean, I don’t know. It doesn’t put more pressure on me, in my opinion,i feel like it’s a compliment more than anything and it’s just great being compared to great players like him.”

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