It’s official: Keldon Johnson will remain in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Back on April 10th, Johnson announced his intention to “test the waters” in the NBA draft process. Apparently, the water felt fine because he has made a pretty quick decision about his basketball future. On Wednesday, he announced his intentions to keep his name in the draft and put an end to his college eligibility.
It's his time. Keldon Johnson is officially staying in the NBA Draft and forgoing his remaining eligibility at Kentucky. There are few people who love this game as much as he does nor work as hard at it. We know he's got a long career ahead of him. Make us proud, KJ.#DreamBIG pic.twitter.com/vlQ9oomPCt— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) April 17, 2019
Johnson joined the Kentucky Wildcats as the top freshman in the 2018 class. He led the Wildcats in scoring for most of the season, but in the last month he was surpassed by both PJ Washington and Tyler Herro, who have also decided to keep their names in the draft.
Some believe that, by fading in the background toward the end of the season, Johnson may not be ready for the jump to the NBA. But NBA executives must disagree as they have given Johnson the feedback he was looking for to make the decision to give up his college eligibility before the NBA Draft combine.
Johnson’s departure has been anticipated really since he first arrived on campus. And given that the majority of the incoming class are wing players, it seems that John Calipari knew this result was inevitable.
Johnson has been ranked anywhere from No. 10 to the mid-20’s in mock drafts throughout the season. The most recent editions have slated him in the late-teens to early-20’s. When he made his NBA declaration announcement, Johnson was open about his desire to be selected in the lottery portion of the first round.
Has a team guaranteed that he will be taken that early? Or is Johnson just willing to roll the dice based on what he has heard so far? His NBA destination will be revealed at the draft on Thursday, June 20th.