Washington chose Kentucky over a final group that also included Arizona, Baylor, Kansas, LSU and Oregon. Arizona was considered to be Kentucky's biggest competition for Washington, who decommitted from Creighton on March 11 and reopened his recruitment.
"There is a big challenge at Kentucky for playing time and a leadership role," Washington told ESPN. "I always liked a challenge. The first time I spoke to Coach Cal, he said if you are not willing to bet on yourself, this is not the place for you. I have always been a big believer in myself no matter what. The belief comes from my parents, coaches, family and the work I put in, especially when times weren't good."
Washington, a 6-foot-3 point guard from Arizona Compass Prep (Arizona), was one of the biggest breakout stars of the high school season. He helped lead Arizona Compass Prep to a national ranking and a spot in the Geico Nationals tournament, where he impressed before losing to Montverde Academy (Florida).
"Coach Cal has passion to develop me," Washington said. "He was confident and straightforward on how I would fit and his plan for me. I could play both the point guard and also slide over to the wing because of my scoring ability. I watched a lot of film of Kentucky and they play a three-guard attack."
Calipari has enjoyed high-caliber point guards nearly every season he's been at Kentucky. He's landed a five-star point guard in every class but two since 2009, while also bringing in two in the 2018 class, Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley.
Washington is a self-motivated, highly competitive, winning player. Scoring is the strength of his game. He possesses the ability to score big points and make timely scoring plays. He is a high-end decision-maker in traffic or in the open floor. Washington is very adept at accumulating paint touches as he drives by defenders with a low base and a good change of burst. After he goes by his primary defender and touches the paint, he makes the right read and play.
Washington should slot into Kentucky's starting lineup immediately next season. Calipari has revamped his entire program this spring, with three starters leaving and a couple other key players in limbo. In contrast to past years, the Wildcats are only bringing in three high school prospects next season, with Washington joining Daimion Collins (No. 17) and Bryce Hopkins (No. 31). Kentucky landed three impact transfers, however, in Kellan Grady (17.1 PPG at Davidson), Oscar Tshiebwe (8.5 PPG at West Virginia) and CJ Fredrick (7.5 PPG at Iowa).
The Wildcats are also one of the finalists for Georgia transfer Sahvir Wheeler, the SEC's leader in assists last season. Wheeler is expected to make his decision this week. Washington's commitment is unlikely to take Kentucky out of the mix for Wheeler, as Calipari has been pursuing multiple ball-handlers late in the recruiting cycle.
With Washington off the board, only Jaden Hardy (No. 2) and Nolan Hickman (No. 22) remain as uncommitted five-stars in the 2021 class. Hardy is expected to go to the G League, while Hickman reopened his recruitment earlier this month after decommitting from Kentucky.