NBA Feedback Led David Johnson to Declare for Draft

Positive feedback from NBA teams was the tipping point for the Louisville guard to declare for the 2021 Draft.
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(Photo of David Johnson: Brett Davis - USA TODAY Sports)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After weeks of speculation, Louisville men's basketball sophomore guard David Johnson finally made the decision earlier this week to enter his name into the 2021 NBA Draft and forgo his remaining collegiate eligibility.

According to the program's official release, Johnson had told Chris Mack prior to his freshman year that his plan was to play two seasons as a Cardinal before departing for the league. Even with that predetermined mindset, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound guard still took some time after the 2020-21 season ended to make his decision.

"It was a long process for me that I've been dealing with, Mom has been dealing with, and people close to me for a while behind the scenes. I finally got to dive into it after the season was over," Johnson said Friday.

The Louisville native admits that even after telling Mack that back in Sept. of 2019, he still was undecided about if he should stay or go pro. Once he was able to reflect on the decision, and started hearing feedback from NBA teams, that's when he knew it was time to start his professional career.

"Once I got my feedback, that's when I knew 100% what I wanted to do," he said. "I was kind of up in the air about it, but after I got that feedback back, then kind of thought that it was time for me. I had to think about myself. I've talked to teammates, coaches, and they've all been supportive of the decision.

Johnson did not want to reveal the exact nature of said feedback, but that it was 'good enough for me to enter my name'. The Trinity alum did divulge that they gave him a floor and a ceiling as it pertains to his draft stock, and met him in the middle, and asked what he thought.

"I looked at it, and thought that I could maybe make some improvements to improve my stock," he said. "But I'll be working on that over the next couple of months, and we'll see where it goes.

He was told that his ceiling is in the first round, and most importantly, was told that his floor was that he would get drafted. Johnson added that his feedback did not include "any hesitancy about me coming back." He plans to hire an agent over the next couple days.

Johnson was the Cardinals' second-leading scorer behind Carlik Jones during the 2020-21 season, averaging 12.6 points over 19 games. He also chipped in with 5.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 41.1% from the field and 38.6% on three-point attempts, earning honorable mention All-ACC honors.

Heading into this past season, he was regarded to be a borderline NBA Lottery pick, and played like one to begin the season. Over his first nine games, the Trinity alum averaged 14.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 48.0% from the floor and 45.7% from long range.

But his performance in the second half of the season left many to wonder if he would leave early for the NBA or come back for another season. Johnson averaged 10.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists to 2.8 turnovers over his final ten games, while shooting 35.5% from the field and 33.3% on threes.

Johnson burst onto the scene during the second half of his freshman campaign last season. In the final 15 games, Johnson averaged 8.9 points, 4.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals while shooting 49.5% from the field. He had scored 37 points for his first 12 games of the season before totaling 132 in the last 14 games.

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