Sunday Sit Down: Kentucky's Dakari Johnson talks Coach Cal, more
It’s weird to be labeled a veteran as a sophomore, but that’s how it works at Kentucky, where the Wildcats are known more for stellar one-and-dones than senior leaders. So sophomore Dakari Johnson, who comes off the bench for undefeated Kentucky (21-0) and averages eight points and six rebounds, has a lot of wisdom. He shared some of it with SI.com in this week’s Sunday Sit Down.
SI.com: I should warn you that I have high expectations because I’ve heard you’re really funny.
Dakari Johnson: Haha, OK. I’m ready.
SI.com: OK. Eight seconds left, game on the line. Which current college basketball player do you want taking the big shot? You can’t pick a teammate.
Johnson: That’s a great question.
SI.com: Thank you, I thought so, too.
Johnson: Probably Marcus Paige from North Carolina.
Who do you want defending the big shot? You also can’t pick a teammate.
Johnson: Dang, I can’t pick a teammate? OK, anyone from Virginia. They all play defense, so anyone will do.
SI.com: Why is your team better than people think?
Johnson: Because we haven’t even scratched our potential yet. I think we can get way better than we are right now. We still have a lot to improve on.
SI.com: What one weird thing do you keep in your backpack or basketball bag?
Johnson: I always keep a comb with me, and I always take my phone charger with me. I don’t know if that’s considered weird.
SI.com: Well, the last person who did this said a seashell, so I think you’re pretty normal.
SI.com: Who’s your favorite follow on Twitter?
Johnson: Spongebob. It’s a parody account, but it always tweets funny stuff.
SI.com: I like that you made that clear, that it’s a parody account.
SI.com: Who’s your celebrity crush?
Johnson: Nicki Minaj
SI.com: What’s the best dunk you’ve done or seen live?
Johnson: I actually was a prop in a dunk contest. Someone jumped over me.
SI.com: Wow. Who?
Johnson: He plays for Vanderbilt now, Wade Baldwin IV. It was at Xavier, at the Mary Kline Classic, this past summer. I went to go watch, and they pulled me out of the crowd to go jump over me.
SI.com: Were you scared?
Johnson: Uh, yeah. No one’s ever tried to jump over me before. But I was fine, no injuries.
SI.com: Favorite March Madness memory?
Johnson: Last year when Aaron (Harrison) hit all those shots (to win or go ahead vs. Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin).
SI.com: You’re an NBA GM with the first pick in the 2015 draft. Who are you taking and why?
Johnson: Besides myself?
SI.com: Ha! Yes, besides yourself.
Johnson: I’d pick any of my teammates, because they’re all great guys and I know they’re all great competitors.
SI.com: In their primes, are you taking LeBron or Kobe?
Johnson: I’m a big LeBron fan, so I’m picking LeBron.
SI.com: What’s the dumbest mistake you’ve ever made on a basketball court?
Johnson: Actually when I was younger, in an AAU game, I called a timeout and we didn’t have any left and we ended up losing.
SI.com: Oh no, Michigan revisited!
Johnson: Yeah. It was pretty dumb.
SI.com: What is Coach Calipari’s favorite thing to yell in practice?
Johnson: Oh, well, I can’t say that.
SI.com: Haha, OK what’s something G-rated that he says a lot?
Johnson: Hmm, I have to think about that. He likes to mock us a lot when he’s mad at us. He thinks it’s really funny. He does impressions of everybody. For example, if I don’t have a lot of energy at practice, he’ll walk around the court with his back slumped and be like, “Ohhh, I’m soooo tired!” Stuff like that.
SI.com: Which venue do you most want to play in?
Johnson: Probably Madison Square Garden. I’ve never played there before.
SI.com: Who on your team would make the best coach someday and why?
Johnson: Andrew (Harrison) or Tyler (Ulis) because they’re point guards, so they have those high basketball IQs.
SI.com: Last question. Which teammate are you singing a karaoke duet with, and what’s your song of choice?
Johnson: Marcus Lee. He’s always energized, so he’d probably add a little dance to it. We’d probably sing a country song, just to throw people off.
SI.com: Country, really? Do you have a favorite country artist?
Johnson: No. My mom listens to it a lot when she’s cleaning but it’s annoying to me. What’s that one song, that has a good tune to it? Oh yeah, ‘She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.’ That’s what we’d sing.
SI.com: What a perfect last answer.