Kentucky basketball: 3 reasons PJ Washington should return to UK

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 22: PJ Washington
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 22: PJ Washington /
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ATLANTA, GA – MARCH 22: Makol Mawien
ATLANTA, GA – MARCH 22: Makol Mawien /

2. Free throw shooting

Yikes! PJ Washington’s free throw shooting in the South Regional semifinal could’ve been the difference between winning and losing for the Kentucky Wildcats against Kansas State. PJ’s 18 points and 15 rebounds in that game were a huge reason why Kentucky was even within striking distance. However, going 8-of-20 from the free throw line is just not good.

PJ struggled throughout the season from the charity stripe. Out of 208 attempts, Washington only made 126. That’s barely 60% from the foul line. By comparison, perhaps UK’s most reliable free throw shooter, Gilgeous-Alexander attempted 174 shots from the charity stripe in 2017-18. Teams knew Washington’s weakness and they exposed it.

The same thing will happen at the next level. Being that PJ is a post-scorer, the likelihood of him going to the foul line is exponentially higher than it would be if he were a jump-shooter. Free throw shooting is a mental aspect of the game, and one Washington needs to improve upon.