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Dakari Johnson signs contract with Oklahoma City Thunder

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The Kentucky big man finally gets his NBA shot.

NCAA Men's Final Four - Practice Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

After being drafted in the middle of second round in the 2015 NBA Draft, Dakari Johnson has had a long journey to complete his NBA dream.

After two years of playing in the D-League for the OKC Blue (the Thunder’s affiliate), it seems that he’s finally made it. Thunder beat reporter Brett Dawson of reported that Johnson has signed a two year deal. Perhaps most importantly, the money from the contract is all guaranteed.

Dakari has made a name for himself in the D-League by being one of the most dominant players in the NBA’s minor league. In his first season with the Blue, he was recognized with D-League All-Rookie honors. Not enough to secure a roster spot, he upped the ante even more in his most recent campaign. He was a D-League All-Star and first-teamer, averaging 18.5 points per game, along with 7.9 rebounds.

Dakari was a favorite during his time at Kentucky for his affable personality, so it is great that his hard work and persistence is being rewarded. He will pair nicely in the Thunder’s frontcourt with their two other Wildcats, Enes Kanter and the newly signed Patrick Patterson.

It is risky to fight in the D-League to keep the NBA dream alive when there is much more money offered by programs overseas, but Johnson proved that betting on one’s self can ultimately yield the highest prize. This has been a good day for former Wildcats pursuing the league, as the news comes fresh off the heels of Derek Willis signing with the Pistons.

Congrats, Dakari!