Keldon Johnson is becoming “that guy” for Kentucky
If you follow our coverage on a regular basis it should come as no surprise to you that Keldon Johnson is becoming the best player on the Cats roster. After the Bahamas, fans were chattering about Tyler Herro and how well he played. My response to them was basically, “yeah Herro played good but Keldon Johnson is the best player on this team by a wide margin”. That was never meant as a knock on Herro or any other player on the roster. I was just blown away by the competitiveness of Keldon Johnson. I knew that it was only a matter of time before his skill set and motor meshed together to make an alpha dog. In the Bahamas I sat down with Kenny Payne and asked him about the aggressiveness that Keldon displayed and if he was similar to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
With 10 college games under his belt, Keldon is beginning to elevate his game to another level. He had his most efficient offensive game of the season against Utah on Saturday. He scored 24 points on just 9 shots, while making 6 of 7 three point shots. His three point shooting percentage is up to 44% after that performance. He is averaging 16 points a game, which leads the team. If he can continue to make shots from beyond the arc at a decent clip, it will make him extremely hard to guard because of his ability to get to the rim. Defensively he is still figuring out how to get his effort to translate into being a stopper on that end of the floor. Eventually he will become a very good defender, he just needs more reps and more time.
On top of his ability as a basketball player, Keldon has the personality of a leader. He is the kind of person that energizes everyone around him. When the best player on your team is also the grittiest player on the court it is a great combination. There are times that being aggressive hurts him but overall you have to love seeing a guy that is always in attack mode. As that mentality continues to rub off on his teammates it will only make this team better.
Coach Cal is still figuring out how to fully take advantage of Keldon’s skill set on offense. As the season progresses he will get a better handle on how the team needs to play but also how to get the most from Keldon as a scoring weapon.
When all is said and done I think there is a very good chance that Keldon Johnson goes down as the best true small forward that Cal has had at Kentucky. This team can go a long way when March rolls around but much of that will rest on the shoulders of Keldon Johnson. He is a kid that is built for that type of pressure.