Kentucky signees shine at Jordan Brand Classic

NOTE: Like UK Athletics, can only publicize prospects who have signed a national letter of intent or a financial aid agreement.

Once again, Kentucky had the most signees competing in Friday night’s Jordan Brand Classic, and once again the future Wildcats impressed all those watching.

Kentucky had three signees competing in this year’s game with PJ Washington, who started, and Nick Richards playing for the West Team, and Quade Green playing for the East Team. In an up-and-down game that saw the West come out with a 124-116 victory, the future Wildcats were a hot topic of conversation all evening at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Future Kentucky forward PJ Washington started in Friday's Jordan Brand Classic and had 11 points, three rebounds, four assists and a game-high six steals. (photo courtesy of Jordan Brand Classic)

Future Kentucky forward PJ Washington started in Friday’s Jordan Brand Classic and had 11 points,
three rebounds, four assists and a game-high six steals. (photo courtesy of Jordan Brand Classic)

Washington, a 6-foot-8 forward, scored 11 points to go with three rebounds, four assists and a game-high six steals. The 6-11 Richards showed off his athleticism and leaping ability with a number of dunks en route to 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Green, a 6-1 point guard, set up his teammates all night by distributing the ball with a game-high 10 assists to go with six points.

Though none of UK’s trio of signees earned MVP honors this year, their strong performances come on the heels of last year’s game in which guards De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk were named co-MVPs.

Green, Richards and Washington also competed in the McDonald’s All American Game in Chicago on March 29. Green scored nine points, grabbed five rebounds and passed out a game-high tying seven assists in that game. Richards had two points, four rebounds and two blocks in 14 minutes. Washington finished with seven points on 3-of-5 shooting, five rebounds and three steals in 15 minutes.

Green was scheduled to compete in the Nike Hoop Summit on April 7 but missed the game with a concussion. Richards started for the World Team at the Nike Hoop Summit and finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and three rebounds. Richards was joined in the starting lineup on the World Team by fellow UK signee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who had 11 points and two assists.

UK has had multiple players compete in every Jordan Brand Classic game during the John Calipari era, including six in 2013.

Since Coach Cal’s arrival, 33 total players have been selected to the Jordan Brand Classic game including: Bam Adebayo (2016), Devin Booker (2014), Isaiah Briscoe (2015), DeMarcus Cousins (2009), Anthony Davis (2011), De’Aaron Fox (2016), Wenyen Gabriel (2016), Green (2017), Archie Goodwin (2012), Aaron Harrison (2013), Andrew Harrison (2013), Dakari Johnson (2013), Terrence Jones (2010), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2011), Brandon Knight (2010), Skal Labissiere (2015), Doron Lamb (2010), Marcus Lee (2013), Trey Lyles (2014), Charles Matthews (2015), Malik Monk (2016), Nerlens Noel (2012), Daniel Orton (2009), Alex Poythress (2012), Julius Randle (2013), Richards (2017), Marquis Teague (2011), Karl-Anthony Towns (2014), Tyler Ulis (2014), John Wall (2009), Washington (2017), Kyle Wiltjer (2011) and James Young (2013).

Future UK center Nick Richards scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting at the Jordan Brand Classic. (photo courtesy of Jordan Brand Classic)

Future UK center Nick Richards scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting at the Jordan Brand Classic. (photo courtesy of Jordan Brand Classic)

Green is a floor general out of Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia. A fantastic distributor and leader, Green can also score the ball from 3-point range and with a nice midrange jumper. He led the Nike EYBL over the 2016 summer in both assists and steals. A five-star prospect by three of the four major recruiting services, Green is ranked No. 22 in the country by ESPN, No. 21 by Rivals, No. 24 by Scout and No. 27 by 247Sports. He just closed out a prolific high school career that saw him capture four state championships. He closed out his senior year averaging 20.8 points and 8.0 assists per game. He also helped lead the USA U18 Men’s National Team to a gold medal in the 2016 FIBA Americas tournament.

Richards is a center from the Patrick School in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the same school as former UK national champion Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and led the Celtics to the Tournament of Champions title. He averaged 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds and was named the Player of the Year. Richards is known for his defense, high motor and rebounding ability. He runs the floor well, finishes well through contact and is very athletic as the No. 2 ranked center in the country, according to 247Sports. At 235 pounds, Richards is a great athlete with tremendous upside and length. A consensus five-star prospect, Richards is ranked No. 11 in the country by ESPN, No. 12 by 247Sports and No. 16 by both Rivals and Scout.

Washington, a fantastic athlete with great upside, was a member of the 2016 USA Men’s U18 National Team that won gold at the FIBA Americas tournament. Coming out of Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada, Washington is an impressive player around the basket and a strong finisher with a good midrange game as well. A consensus five-star, top-20 ranked prospect, Washington is ranked No. 14 by ESPN, No. 14 by Rivals, No. 13 by Scout and No. 15 by 247Sports. Washington also competed in the 2015 FIBA 3×3 U18 World Championship for Team USA. He earned second-team status by USA Today after averaging 20.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game.