With the NBA combine finished, Brooklyn native Dakari Johnson is gearing up for the NBA draft. Johnson, a McDonald’s All-American and former Kentucky Wildcat center, is preparing for two weeks of workouts with other NBA prospects in Los Angeles ahead of NBA team workouts.
Johnson declared for the NBA draft along with six other Kentucky teammates, after an undefeated regular season. With Kentucky, Johnson enjoyed two deep NCAA tournament runs, including two Final Four appearances and one national title game. While at Kentucky, Johnson averaged five points in his first season and six in his second, along with four rebounds both years. However, in his second season his per 40 minute averages were 15 points, along with 11 rebounds. The average increase can be attributed to the platoon system implemented by Kentucky coach John Calipari, where four to five players would replace those on the court.
At the NBA combine, Johnson weighed in at 265 pounds, the heaviest of those weighed at the combine. He was also measured at 6 feet 11 inches, an inch lower than his height listed at Kentucky. Johnson has spent the prior week working out with former UCLA player Don McLean in L.A. After leaving the combine in Chicago, Johnson will return to L.A. for two weeks before his first NBA workout with the L.A. Lakers. Johnson knows that teams are worried about his shape.
“A lot of people are saying that, but no, I’m not out of shape,” he said. Johnson is looking forward to his workouts, doing drills and to “improve at all aspects of his game.” He also wants to make sure he is in “tip-top shape.”
Johnson is considered as a late first to early second round pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Said ESPN analyst Chad Ford, “Big guys all the time emerge in the NBA. And he’ll be in the league a long time.”
When asked what he envisioned his goal being in the NBA, Johnson said he’d like a “successful career and giving a team a winning player with a winning attitude.”
The 2015 NBA draft takes place June 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.