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Bedford to Brooklyn: Keon Johnson set to be drafted


Every year, 60 names are announced at the NBA draft.

Those athletes will walk across the stage to shake the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver's hand, and embark on their dream.

Shelbyville's own, Keon Johnson, is guaranteed to be one of 60 that will hear his name called on July 29 in the Barclays Center.

Johnson's journey began in Shelbyville before he transferred to the Webb School to start his high school career.

With his decision having paid off, Johnson led The Webb School to two D-II A state semifinals in his sophomore and junior seasons.

He also won back-to-back Tennessee Division II-A Mr. Basketball, the top award given in each basketball division in the state, awards in those same seasons.

His high school career ended with him being ranked as the No. 1 prospect in Tennessee.

Scholarship offers from colleges started to pile up, but Johnson had home in his heart.

Johnson committed to the University of Tennessee in early August of his senior year.

He is not the prolific scorer that most people expect out of a player of his caliber, but he does the little things right like leading the Volunteers in charges drawn.

Standing at 6-foot-7 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan, Johnson excels on the defensive end by using his length and athleticism to cause havoc on opposing ball handlers.

In his lone season with the Volunteers, Johnson started 17-of-27 games while piling up 17 blocks and 30 steals.

Offensively, he does not score at an immense rate, but his efficiency is of high regard.

He led the Vols in field goals attempted and field goals made while hitting on 44 percent of those shots.

His freshman year started out slow, but he quickly put his name on the map in a SEC game against Kentucky.

Johnson dropped a season high 27 points while shooting 9-of-16 from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throw line in the win.

Defense, athleticism, length, and many other facets of his game are why he is ranked highly on the NBA draft boards.

According to various reports, Johnson is the sixth ranked prospect and second ranked shooting guard in the draft.

He turned heads of NBA executives when he broke the max vertical jump record at the NBA combine recently with a 48-inch leap.

Multiple mock drafts have Johnson landing with a team in the NBA's lottery as a top-14 pick.

He could find himself catching a flight to California as he is projected to be picked by the Sacramento Kings with the ninth pick of the draft per reports.

Looking at his intangibles and play style, Johnson can be compared to Isaac Okoro of the Cleveland Cavaliers, with both being extremely athletic and using their defense to start a run on offense.

Looking into the past, Johnson's game is very similar to Scottie Pippen's in the sense that both value defense and make team-beneficial plays often.

The NBA Draft begins on July 29th in Brooklyn, New York.


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