New York (Montverde Academy, Florida)
Preview Podcast: Publisher Brett Dawson and staff writers T.J. Walker and Aaron Smith break down their expectations of Dakari Johnson.
Rewind: Johnson averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game in leading Montverde Academy to the National High School Invitational Basketball championship. He scored 18 points in the title game to earn MVP honors, just days after playing in the McDonald's All-American Game.
Fast Forward: Johnson compares himself to Andrew Bynum and considers himself a true center, and he's expected to give Kentucky a physical presence in the paint. He'll likely split time with (and battle for a starting spot against) sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein.
John Calipari says: "I watched him two summers ago folks, and I'm going to tell you, he had a knee issue and I looked at him and said, 'I'm not so sure.' Then I watched him a little bit later, and I said 'Wait a minute.' Then I watched him later in the season, could not believe it. The line of improvement for Dakari is like that. He's a kid that will get up at 6 in the morning and work out. He's a great student. He does all the things and he wants to be better. He was on a team that there were times he wasn't getting the ball. Never said one thing, ran that court, posted up. When he did get it, he did good things. He's got great skills and he's 7-foot tall."