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Kentucky inks Park View alum Johnson

South Boston News
Keldon Johnson in action for the Park View boys in 2014. / November 15, 2017
Oak Hill Academy senior and former Park View basketball student-athlete Keldon Johnson has signed a national letter of commitment to play for Kentucky next season.

Sources close to Johnson’s recruiting process said the Kentucky offer came on an unofficial visit to the university last Tuesday. With his current skillset, the shooting guard, ranked No. 2 in shooting and No. 14 overall by 247Sports, should have an immediate impact with the Wildcats.

While attending Park View, Johnson set a VHSL freshman scoring record for the most points scored in a season. Johnson racked up 560 plus-points during his 2014-15 season with the Dragons. The previous ninth grade record set in 1952 was 559 points by Ben Valley of Honaker High School.

A foot/ankle injury during his sophomore season at slowed his numbers on the court somewhat, but still didn’t keep him from receiving All-Conference and All-Region honors.

At the time, then-Park View head coach Brian Sykes said Johnson was quickly turning into the total package for a big-time, Division 1 men’s program.

“He is remarkable,” said Sykes in a previous interview. “This is just a stepping stone for him. He is so competitive, and he wants to win. He has been a blessing for our program.”

Sykes lauded Johnson’s total dedication to not only making himself better but also those around him.

UCLA, Oregon, Texas, Maryland, Georgetown, Virginia, Virginia Tech, N.C. State and Memphis were universities that all showed an interest in Johnson. And while Johnson was intent on wanting to go to Kentucky, his dad Chris Johnson wasn’t too sure.

Just like any dad, the elder Johnson wanted to make sure Keldon would have the immediate opportunity to play at Kentucky, with Johnson’s father believing that going to a large school such as Kentucky could hamper that.

“I was more for Maryland and N.C. State because they were local and he would have been the man from day one,” Chris Johnson said in a recent interview with Cats Pause, a UK sports website. “We went back and forth but he was sold on Kentucky. That was where he really, really wanted to go. He just wanted to be part of that tradition.”

Keldon made his decision “about a month ago,” the elder Johnson said in the interview, lamenting the fact that UK might not be the best place for his son. But once Keldon decided he definitely wanted to play for head coach John Calipari, the family was all in.

“Oh yeah, 100 percent. I’m all in,” said Chris Johnson. “That’s my guy and I’ll support him to the utmost because as an 18-year-old he knew where he wanted to be. I told him it was all hands on deck so we’ll definitely be wearing that blue.

“I called Coach Cal Friday and said that this is what Keldon wants and that I was going to support it,” Johnson said. “He was definitely happy and he said, ‘Thank you for trusting me with your kid and you won’t be sorry.’ He thinks Keldon is really built for this.”

At 6-foot-6, and 216 pounds, the five-star shooting guard/wingman seems to be fully grounded and working towards not only an outstanding college career but hopefully the NBA also.

Tim Daniels with Bleacher Report picked up that thread in a recent article: Keldon Johnson’s got the tools to become a one-and-done future NBA player with a strong freshman campaign, which is the type of prospect Calipari has excelled at developing. However, Keldon expressed in another interview this week that he may want to stay at Kentucky after his freshman season regardless of how the 2018-2019 campaign goes.

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