10 Stupidly Interesting Facts About Keon Johnson
The newest member of the Los Angeles Clippers, Keon Johnson. The explosive guard from Tennessee was able to have a solid year in his lone college season. Despite being on a team with another five-star recruit, he was still able to shine and show the world what he was made of in such a short amount of time, which is why he was selected so early on. There is still quite a lot that we don’t know about the new Clippers, which is why today’s video is going to focus on ten of the most interesting facts regarding Keon Johnson. Be sure to stick around until the end of the video to find out about an incident that almost ended his career before it even started! Before we get to that though, we have some other facts to go over, starting from the top.
Number ten. Keon Johnson was able to up his draft stock during the NBA combine about a month before the draft. Johnson was able to set a record number in the vertical category, reaching 48 inches. The previous record was held by Kansas guard Kenny Gregory all the way back in 2001, with a record of just 45.5 inches. Johnson beat that record by quite a large margin and to make matters even better for him, he is likely to not end up like Gregory did. Gregory ended up going undrafted despite his crazy vertical and never played a single game in the NBA. However, Johnson was drafted to the Los Angeles Clippers with the 21st overall pick. A spot that was pretty unexpected considering he was a top ten projected player BUT, he now can play in the league while also maintain his record vertical numbers. This man is going to unleash a couple of monster dunks throughout his time in the NBA I can just feel it right now.
Number nine. Johnson surprisingly wasn’t always into basketball and didn’t think of it as a career until late. When he was growing up, he was actually a very talented baseball player, and he even admitted that baseball was his entire life growing up. Then suddenly he started to play basketball and by his words, it “slowly took over my life.” He played both sports during his freshman year of high school but knew he had to make a final decision when he was entering his sophomore season. He admitted that it was very rough trying to play both sides, but he just couldn’t choose one or the other. Finally, a door opened up for him that he never would have thought about earlier. The baseball team for the school he was attending ended up not having a team that sophomore season, leaving a perfect opportunity open for him to work and develop as a basketball player. The whole summer he spent working out and getting better, suddenly turning into a five-star prospect.
Number eight. His mother was the one that introduced him to the sport of basketball. As we just talked about, baseball was Johnson’s main focus throughout his early life, but his mom helped him spread his wings during high school. His mother, Conswella, was a two-time All-SEC basketball player who played at Auburn during the late 1990s. If anybody was going to be influential in his life it would be his mother. Not to mention the fact that she was probably one of the most intelligent and trustworthy teachers he could have had when he started to develop his game during high school. Without his mother helping to push him into other sports, we probably wouldn’t have ever seen Johnson absolutely demolish the rim during his poster on Georgia’s Toumani Camara when he was in college.
Number seven. Johnson attended a very small school while trying to get on the radar of a few major scouts and colleges. He graduated from The Webb School, which is a college prep academy located in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. According to the schools website, there was only 330 students attending from grades six to 12. As we mentioned previously, he started to get into basketball during his sophomore season, well, towards the end of it. Which means his first true year playing with the school was his junior year, when he averaged 24.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He was exploding onto the scene as a terrific player with many colleges taking notice of his skillset. However, his high school career was cut short when he suffered a meniscus injury in his senior season. The injury ended up keeping him out of the majority of games throughout that year, but it didn’t stop the offers from flowing in.
Number six. Johnson ended up committing to Tennessee over a lot of other big-name colleges. It took him a while to come to a decision, but he ultimately opted to roll with Tennessee in August of 2019. It was reported that the only other school on his radar when he really started to narrow it down was Ohio State, which makes it surprising that he chose Tennessee over them. Although he wasn’t committing to a trash team that didn’t have any talent on their roster. In fact, there was another five-star recruit on their roster already. Point guard Jaden Springer was another player on the school at the time he committed and helped make Tennessee have a top five 2020 recruiting class in the country. Just a little side fact for you, Springer was in fact drafted in the same class and round as Johnson. Springer was taken just seven picks after Johnson in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers, going 28th overall.
Number five. Johnson was able to put together a strong showing in his singular season at Tennessee in his freshman year. He got the starting nod in 17 of his 27 games with the school and put up averages of 11.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game on 45 percent shooting from the field. However, his three-point shot left much to be desire as that number sat at just 27 percent throughout the year on two attempts per game. Still though, Johnson had enough explosiveness and creativity offensively to be the team’s second leading scorer besides only Springer. The school was even able to make it into the NCAA Tournament at the end of the season, to match up with Oregon State in the first round. Keon dropped 14 points and six rebounds, but the team was upset and sent home earlier than expected. It wasn’t all terrible though as he left the tournament healthy while being named to the All-SEC Freshman team. A couple of months later he found himself declaring for the NBA Draft, a decision that got him selected in the first round. It is scary to think that he was just seconds away from not being able to declare from the draft because of an earlier incident that happened to him as a child. Stick around until the end of the video to find out what incident almost completely changed his life.
Number four. The Clippers like Keon Johnson so much that they chose to trade up to grab him. We talked about how the Clippers selected him with the 21st overall selection in the recent NBA Draft but they didn’t always have that pick. When the draft first started, many teams were confused with Keon as a player. Some had him ranked in the top ten while others thought he could be later first round. This is what caused him to slide down the rankings as the draft progressed. Soon enough, the New York Knicks were on the clock and the Clippers came calling. Los Angeles offered their number 25 overall selection and a future second round draft pick in order to move up those four spots and New York accepted. They ended up moving back while the Clippers jumped forward to snag Keon, a guy they feel could be a future star in this league behind his freakish athleticism.
Number three. It is pretty ironic that Johnson was ultimately drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers. Johnson is the highest Tennessee NBA Draft Pick dating back to 2011 when Tobias Harris was selected 19th overall in the first round. Harris was drafted by the exact same team, the Clippers in that draft and has become a household name in terms of the league right now. Johnson is set to go down that exact same path with his only true weakness right now being his shooting. We mentioned before how explosive he is off the dribble but those shooting numbers are definitely a cause for concern in the NBA. However, he is still a valuable member to their team because of his defensive instincts and his ability to draw fouls often. Clearly, the Clippers seem to be the only team looking into the Tennessee Volunteers, because there aren’t many of them that end up getting drafted early on in the first round. Keon has an opportunity to prove that there still is tremendous talent coming out of Tennessee despite other schools having a much better reputation than them.
Number two. Johnson is scarily connected to the Clippers organization, which makes his drafting there a match made in heaven. Keon loves to fish, like a lot. One of the Clippers star forwards happens to share that interest, the veteran Paul George. It’s also worth mentioning that both Johnson and George share an agent, the CAA’s Aaron Mintz. But not only are these two closely connected in areas outside of the basketball court, Johnson has admitted that he prefers to model his game after Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers superstar forward and duo to George. Each of those things were very critical to the Clippers wanting to trade up to grab him. The president of basketball operations, Lawrence Frank, said that it was great to hear that he models his game after Kawhi while also knowing Paul George. He continued by saying having two mentors like that is going to drastically help improve his overall game to the point where he could become a superstar himself. Johnson also proved to be in the same mindset as the Clippers star duo of forwards by talking about his enthusiasm for playing defense after being drafted. Not many players are able to ask for a better fit than what Keon found right here.
Number one. Here is the most insane fact of them all. A long time ago, Johnson almost ended his professional sports career before it even started. He was celebrating a holiday with fireworks and got himself in a very bad accident. Something went completely wrong, and he got injured pretty badly over it. From what I read, he suffered four fractures in one of his hands while also needing to get surgery done on his blood vessels to avoid having to get his hand completely amputated. He was just 13 years old at the time and when he talked about the incident, he mentioned how he woke up and heard the doctors talking about possibly having to amputate his hand. Eventually, emergency surgery had to be done and luckily blood flow was going back to his fingers, saving his hand from amputation. Still, he had to get pins inserted into his middle and ring fingers. From having terrible burns on his chest and legs to seeing four bones sticking out of his left hand, Johnson has come quite a long way. Johnson has been asked about the incident a lot and he kept on saying how motivated it made him. He said that it taught him to hang around the right people to avoid jeopardizing the career that he so desperately wanted to get into. Keon believes that the horrible incident was simply a teaching moment for him, which is why he has grown so much as a person and as a player. Thankfully, his future wasn’t taken away by a random firework accident caused by a short fuse in one of their mortars.
And with that scary story out of the way, we wrap up our video on the top ten facts about the newly drafted Keon Johnson. If you enjoyed this video, be sure to leave a like and subscribe for more content just like this! Also, remember to smash that bell icon because we have a lot of exciting stuff planned for the future that you won’t want to miss out on!