It seems like the Kentucky Wildcats won’t be able to keep all of their freshmen in uniform next season. Forward Keldon Johnson has announced his decision to test the NBA draft process after one season with the Wildcats. He still has an opportunity to return to the Wildcats, but there’s a great chance that we will see Johnson in an NBA uniform in the fall.
The versatile forward averaged 13.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists this year. He shot 46 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range. As a result, it’s not a terrible move for Johnson to go through the draft process. He will have until Memorial Day Weekend to make a decision on what to do. Naturally, the Wildcats would love to have him return. However, Johnson presents some attributes that may shine at the next level.
He is listed at 6’6” 210 pounds. Meaning, Johnson has already become a intriguing wing defender at the level. Along with his ability to shoot from long range, Johnson has an opportunity to become a 20-point scorer in the league. He still has to find a right home to utilize his entire game.
Johnson was rated the No. 12 recruit out of Oak Hill Academy. He is able to dribble drive and find open teammates. If this particular part of his game translates to the NBA, Johnson has star power in the league. That’s why he is set to become a shooting guard next season. Eventually, he may transform into a point guard at the next level on the offensive side of the ball. Thanks to his ability to finish at the rim, Johnson has the tools to become as great as anybody in the current draft class.
Overall, he produced seven 20-point games for the Wildcats. He scored a career high 27 points against the Tennessee State Tigers. For the most part, Johnson didn’t step his game up during the NCAA Tournament. He scored 25 points in the round one win over Abilene Christian. However, Johnson was limited to 16 total points in the next two rounds. He spent more time playing stout defense against perimeter teams. He fell into foul trouble against the Wofford Terriers. Yet, Johnson scored 14 points in the Elite 8 loss to the Auburn Tigers.
Point guard Ashton Hagans has decided to stay in college. They also lost P.J. Washington to the NBA draft. With Johnson preparing to enter the draft, all eyes will be focused on fellow freshman Tyler Herro. He was the No. 35 recruit in the 2018 class behind Johnson, Hagans, Immanuel Quickley and EJ. Montgomery.
Johnson should be the highest rated recruit to leave the Wildcats this season. If he continues with the plan, the Wildcats could have two first round draft picks in the 2019 NBA draft.