Kentucky Wildcats freshman guard Keldon Johnson announced Wednesday he's staying in the 2019 NBA draft class.
Johnson, who declared for the draft last week after one season at UK, provided the update on Twitter:
Kentucky Basketball @KentuckyMBB
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 https://t.co/vlQ9oomPCt
The 19-year-old Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) product was always expected to become a one-and-done college player after arriving to Kentucky as a 5-star prospect and the No. 13 overall recruit in the 2018 class, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.
Now his quick jump to the NBA is confirmed after he was named the SEC Freshman of the Year for the 2018-19 season.
Johnson averaged 13.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists while shooting 46.3 percent from the field, including 38.1 percent from three, across 37 appearances for the Wildcats.
"Keldon has a game that will translate well to the next level. Of all the players in this draft, he could have one of the best transitions physically and athletically. He has all the tools you look for in a player in that league, and what makes him special is his joy for the game and his passion to get better. He improved in all phases of his game this year and will continue to grow in the NBA. I'll miss seeing that smile he brought to the gym every day but I'm happy for Keldon as he pursues his dream."
Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projected the Orlando Magic to select Johnson with the No. 17 overall pick in his latest mock draft, writing:
"Johnson's appeal began fading over the final months of the season when he was making fewer threes—and plays in general—within the half court. However, with 6'6" size, strength and athleticism, he still provides plenty to like with his driving and slashing, advanced runner game, defensive potential and shot-making accuracy."
A strong showing during the draft process could push Johnson into the lottery.