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Johnny Juzang impressing in summer workouts

The freshman guard is a sneaky pick to be a starter next season.

Mars Reel

John Calipari has had a nice stretch recently of less-heralded recruits greatly outperforming their recruiting ranking. Might Johnny Juzang be the latest?

Juzang decided to reclassify into the 2019 class in late April and took a visit to Kentucky shortly after that announcement before picking the Wildcats. He was ranked 29th overall by ESPN, 30th by 247 Sports and 34th by Rivals.

But listening to John Calipari, it’s clear he thinks Juzang is much better than his ranking suggests.

“Johnny can really score the basketball,” Calipari said of Juzang signing with Kentucky. “You’re talking about a kid who has a college-ready body, which is why I was in full support of him reclassifying.

“He can really shoot the basketball and has a great skill set, but what I love about him is his will to win, his fight and competitiveness. He likes to play physical and can shoot over the top of defenders, plus he’s a very good rebounder for his age. He’s a smart player who is really going to make us a different team next year.”

Turns out, Juzang has been the biggest surprise thus far of summer workouts, according to KSR’s Matt Jones.

This isn’t the first time Juzang has drawn praise this summer. Kyle Tucker of The Athletic actually picked Juzang to be a starter next season.

Back when Kentucky missed out on Jaden McDaniels, recruiting analyst Evan Daniels said that Juzang was actually the more important recruit for Kentucky in the 2019 class, partly because of the three-point threat he brings to the table.

The 6-7, 215-pound guard out of Tarzana (CA) 23.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game this past season at Harvard-Westlake School, which is considered one of the best academic schools in the country.

We’re still several months away from the Cats hitting the hardwood for live game action, but it’s good to know Juzang is already drawing praise as he looks to carve out a role on this team, if not win a starting spot.

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