LEXINGTON, Ky. – After hauling in Southeastern Conference honors this morning, Kentucky men’s basketball players Tyler Herro and PJ Washington added United States Basketball Writers Association All-District IV Team honors in the afternoon.
Herro and Washington are two of 11 players who were named to the district squad comprising the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
Other members of the USBWA District IV Team include Jordan Bone (Tennesse), Garrison Mathews (Lipscomb), Ja Morant (Murray State), Jordan Nwora (Louisville), Admiral Schofield (Tennessee), Breein Tyree (Ole Miss), Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State), Grant Williams (Tennessee) and Dylan Windler (Belmont).
Since the inception of the USBWA All-District Teams in 2004, at least one Kentucky player has been selected to the District IV Team in every season. In total, 27 Wildcats have been tabbed to a USBWA All-District squad and head coach John Calipari has had multiple selections in eight of his 10 seasons as Kentucky’s coach.
Washington has scored 20 or more points in eight of the last 14 games and has been at the center of Kentucky’s national surge. The Wildcats have won 16 of their last 18 and are firmly in the discussion for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Washington is averaging 18.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 blocks over the last 14 games. During that stretch, he’s shooting 52.8 percent from the floor and 45.2 from 3-point range. That span also includes three straight double-doubles vs. then-No. 9/10 Kansas, at Vanderbilt and at Florida.
Overall, Washington leads the Wildcats in both scoring (14.9 points per game) and rebounding (7.5 rpg). After mulling a decision to turn pro after last season, Washington is enjoying career highs in virtually every statistical category in his return for his sophomore season, including a team-high seven double-doubles.
For the season, Washington is shooting 52.1 percent from the floor and 42.3 percent from 3-point range. A year after hitting just five 3s in 37 games at a 23.8-percent rate, he's already drained 30 this season.
Perhaps the truest indicator of Washington’s worth this season is his impressive play vs. Kentucky’s best competition. In UK’s eight games vs. Associated Press Top 25 teams, Washington is averaging 16.1 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 52.9 percent.
Washington is racking up postseason honors by the day. The major honors he’s won so far include:
· All-SEC First Team (AP/Coaches)
· All-SEC Freshman Team (Coaches)
· Sporting News All-America Third Team
· USBWA All-District IV Team
· Karl Malone Award Finalist
· Wooden Award Finalist
· Naismith Citizen Trophy Semifinalist
· Two-time SEC Player of the Week
· Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week (Feb. 18)
Herro has been one of UK’s most important players this season. The proof: UK is 17-0 this season when he scores 15 or more points. The Wildcats are 9-5 when he doesn't.
The reigning SEC Freshman of the Week has proven to be much more than just a shooter, as many labeled him to be when he got to Kentucky. He's bucked those notions by becoming a lethal scorer from anywhere on the floor (second on the team in scoring), a much-improved defender (33 steals), an underrated rebounder (4.5 boards per game) and one of the nation's best at the free-throw line (93.9 percent).
Having made 60 of his last 61 foul shots, he's on the verge of having one of the best seasons in the history of the collegiate game from the line. With a 93.9-percent rate and a minimum of 50 attempts, not only would he rank first in school history for free-throw percentage for a season but also for the entire league (with players between 50 and 100 attempts). Kyle Macy holds the school record at 91.2 percent in 1979-80 and Paul Smith of Mississippi State owns the SEC mark (50-100 attempts) at 92.7 percent in 1965.
Overall, Herro is averaging 14.2 points per game with a team-best 53 3-pointers and team-high 25 games in double figures. On the road he's been even better. The freshman guard averaged 15.5 points on 50.5 percent from the field with 18 3-pointers in Kentucky's 10 true road games this season. He was one of only four players nationally to average least 15.0 points per game on the road, shoot at least 50 percent from the field, at least 35 percent from 3-point range and at least 90 percent from the free-throw line.
He tied Johnson with an SEC-best three SEC Freshman of the Week honors this season. He was named the USBWA Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week and NCAA.com National Player of the Week after his 24-point performance at Louisville.
Herro’s honors include:
· SEC Newcomer of the Year (AP)
· All-SEC Second Team (Coaches)
· All-SEC Freshman Team
· USBWA District IV Team
· Three-time SEC Freshman of the Week
· Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week (Dec. 31)