Vols freshman Johnson declares for NBA draft


Tennessee freshman Keon Johnson will declare for the 2021 NBA draft and forgo his remaining faculty eligibility by hiring an agent, he instructed ESPN Wednesday.

Johnson, the No. 6 prospect within the ESPN 100, was named to the SEC’s all-rookie staff after averaging 11.3 factors, 3.5 rebounds and a couple of.5 assists in 25 minutes per recreation.

“The NBA has at all times been my purpose, however I by no means anticipated it to return this quickly,” Johnson stated. “I actually do not care what quantity I get drafted at. I simply need to go someplace I slot in that group. Where I can preserve creating and discover my area of interest.”

A late bloomer who grew up as a shortstop on the baseball area, Johnson did not emerge as a top-shelf prospect till the spring and summer season previous to his senior 12 months of highschool. Strong outings together with his AAU staff, EAB Tennessee, earned him an invitation to USA Basketball, the place he established himself as a five-star caliber recruit and potential NBA lottery decide.

After lacking most of his senior 12 months of highschool with a knee harm, Johnson began his freshman season slowly at Tennessee, coming off the bench for 10 of the primary 11 video games and taking part in simply 13 minutes in his debut. He improved dramatically because the 12 months moved on, scoring 27 factors in a win at Kentucky in February and averaging 17 factors per recreation in his last 5 contests.

“Once I get comfy and right into a groove I perceive the totally different expectations which can be given,” Johnson stated. “Not beginning or not taking part in as a lot early within the season did not hassle me as a result of I knew I wanted to develop so I took that upon myself to make that change.”

Johnson is taken into account one of many quickest and most explosive gamers within the faculty recreation by way of his potential to speed up from a standstill and get off his ft for dunks and blocks. As the season progressed, he began flashing actual upside as a ball-handler in decide and roll conditions. His potential to play at totally different speeds, and use or reject a ball-screen, mixed together with his measurement, physique management, fluidity and creativity as a passer, counsel important room for development long-term. Defensively, he proved capable of keep in entrance of guards and wings together with his bodily instruments and aggressive fashion of play.

“I believe NBA groups see a defensive-minded guard who can rating in any respect three ranges,” Johnson stated. “I really feel like my 3-point shot goes to enhance and preserve me on the courtroom within the NBA, together with my versatility on the offensive finish.”

The NBA introduced final week that the draft might be carried out July 29, and has scheduled its draft mix for June 21, that includes aggressive 5-on-5 motion “topic to public well being situations.”

Jonathan Givony is an NBA Draft skilled and the founder and co-owner of DraftCategorical.com, a non-public scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and International groups.



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