(Photo of Carlik Jones, David Johnson: Scott Utterback/Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - While no one from the Louisville men's basketball program has officially declared for the 2021 NBA Draft yet, two players who are widely expected to do so, or at least test the draft waters at the very least, are sophomore guard David Johnson and graduate transfer guard Carlik Jones.
Now that the NBA has finally announced a date for the draft - which is set for Thursday, Jul. 29 - The Athletic's Sam Vecenie released his 2021 NBA Draft Big Board 2.0, which lists the top 100 prospects in the draft class.
It unsurprisingly lists Johnson and Jones, however, both Cardinals have taken considerable slides from Vecenie's first Big Board released on Mar. 1. Johnson, who was listed as the No. 27 draft prospect heading into March Madness, has fallen down to the No. 49 spot. As for Jones, who barely squeaked in the top 60 at No 59 the first time around, he has plummeted all the way to No. 84.
Johnson, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound native of Louisville and Trinity alum, finished his second year as a Cardinal averaging 12.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 38.6% on three point attempts. However, he shot just 35.5% from the field and averaged 2.7 assists to 2.8 turnovers in the final 10 games of the 2020-21 season.
As for Jones, he quickly established himself as one of the best players in the Atlantic Coast Conference after coming over from Radford. The Cincinnati native averaged 16.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, and was named a First Team All-ACC selection. But with him, many around the NBA are more so concerned with his 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame than his actual game, as well as his age.
Louisville opened up the 2020-21 season at 9-1, and were ranked as high as the No. 16 team in the nation. But due to COVID issues, injuries, and at times offensive inconsistencies, they went 4-6 in the second half of the season to finish at 13-7 and 8-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference - missing the NCAA Tournament by a razor-thin margin.
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