Regardless of where they’re from, Kentucky is always going to be in the mix for star prospects. But since Johnson is originally from the state of Kentucky, that just makes it even more of a potential fit for Coach John Calipari, who has endless examples of guards that have shined for him before going to the NBA.
Reed Sheppard, DJ Wagner, and Rob Dillingham could very well be 1st-round picks in the next NBA Draft and five-star class of 2024 commit Boogie Fland is a likely “one and done” for the following year. There will be other star players that Johnson has to work with but he’ll certainly get a large role here.
Being a local option likely is why the Cardinals make the top-10 list here. But realistically, there’s not much to sell for someone like Johnson. He could go the El Ellis route and average 20 ppg and have the highest usage rate possible. Plus, as we’ve seen from guys like Anthony Edwards and Markelle Fultz play on awful NCAA Basketball teams and still be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
Still, that’s the only thing to sell for a program that’s become one of the worst power conference teams of the last two years. As long as Coach Kenny Payne is around, it’s going to be hard to see how they land top talent, despite the program itself historically being one of the best of the last few decades.