Keldon Johnson is having a great week in Atlanta.
The five-star guard and UK signee has been one of the biggest performers at the McDonald’s All-American festivities. That includes a great showing in Tuesday’s scrimmage, which is where NBA scouts get an up-close look at many of these future pros.
That includes Johnson, who was listed as one of the biggest standouts by ESPN.
Kentucky commit Keldon Johnson introduced himself to most NBA scouts for the first time, and he made a strong impression thanks to his slimmed down 6-foot-6 frame, powerful athleticism, aggressive mentality and shooting potential.
Johnson showed out as one of the more competitive players to take the floor in Atlanta. He attacked the rim with physicality into right- and left-hand finishes, crashed the offensive and defensive glass, went toe-to-toe with Barrett in the mid-post and brought vocal energy in practice settings.
Known for his confident approach to the game, Johnson has some alpha dog qualities that should allow him to stand out right away at Kentucky.
That’s exactly what UK needs more of for next season. While they already had great talent and guys who could score 15+ points a game, they really didn’t have an alpha dog that would lead this team game in and game out.
That’s something UK has to find and establish this offseason, whether it’s with an incoming recruit or a current player. It sounds like Johnson is well on his way to becoming that leader who leads vocally and by example.
It is easy to figure out which guys have been working and which haven’t and it’s pretty clear that Johnson keeps working on his game as he prepares to head to Kentucky. He’s a natural scorer with versatility to his game and he’s just sneaky explosive enough to play some mind games with defenders before blowing by them.
Through multiple practice sessions and a scrimmage, Johnson has been reliable and efficient and he should be able to continue those ways next year in Lexington.
Depending on who UK loses this offseason, Johnson is versatile enough to start at either the 2 or 3 spots next season. Ideally, UK will have one of Kevin Knox or Hamidou Diallo back for him to start alongside, but regardless, Johnson is going to have a major role next season.