- Johnson isn't likely to be the Wildcats last big name addition to next year's signing class.
A day after Duke landed the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2018, Canadian small forward R.J. Barrett, the Blue Devils’ chief recruiting rival, Kentucky, scored a massive win in the early signing period. Keldon Johnson announced Saturday night that he’d chosen the Wildcats over finalists Maryland, North Carolina State and Texas.
The 6’6,’’ 216-pound shooting guard is highly regarded for his scoring prowess. In 23 games with Virginia-based club Boo Williams in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League this year, Johnson averaged 19.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He was also invited to participate in USA Basketball’s minicamp in Colorado Springs last month.
Johnson currently attends national powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson. Va., but he also had stints at Huntington Prep (W. Va.) and Park View (Va.) High. The Recruiting Services Consensus Index, a composite that incorporates data from multiple scouting services, rates Johnson the No. 13 prospect in the country.
Kentucky’s 2018 recruiting class currently counts only one other member, Immanuel Quickley. A five-star point guard out of the John Carroll School in Bel Air, Md., Quickley signed his National Letter of Intent earlier this week. The Wildcats were a finalist for Barrett, but he chose Duke over them and his other finalist, Oregon.
Johnson’s scoring and playmaking ability should get him on the floor right away at Kentucky, especially since he’s capable of lining up at more than one position, but there’s a chance the Wildcats will return a handful of this season’s rotation players, including guards Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and forwards PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel.
Johnson is unlikely to be the final addition to Kentucky’s 2018 class. The Wildcats are still in the running for the No. 2 recruit in the country, Spartanburg Day (S.C.) School small forward Zion Williamson, and former Wisconsin commit Tyler Herro, a shooting guard rated No. 34 in the RSCI, is on campus this weekend for his official visit.