LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky guard Keldon Johnson will enter the NBA draft and hire an agent but is keeping open the option of returning to school.
The 6-foot-6 Johnson follows teammate PJ Washington in entering the draft. He has until May 29 to decide on coming back for his sophomore season with the Wildcats.
“First of all, I want to thank God because none of this would be possible without Him,” Johnson said. “Thank you to my family for always having my back and getting me to this point. Thank you to Coach Cal for pushing me on and off the court to be the best player I can be. He never let me take a day off. I want to thank Coach KP (Kenny Payne) for pushing me every day and for being a father figure away from home. Thank you to Coach (Tony) Barbee for being there through tough times. I also want to thank Coach Joel (Justus) and Coach (John) Robic for always providing a helping hand when I needed and for always supporting me.
“I’ve spent a lot of time over the last week thinking about what’s best for me and my future. I’ve sat down with my family and Coach Cal and determined that testing the waters and getting information back from the NBA is the best thing for me at this time. My hope is to be a lottery pick. If I am, I plan on pursuing my dreams and staying in the draft, but I want to go through the process first and get the correct information.
“This season was everything I dreamed of and more when I decided to come to Kentucky. I wish we could have played a few more games, but it doesn’t take away from the special memories we made. Thank you to the Big Blue Nation for your support and love through this important time in my life.”
Kentucky’s No. 3 scorer and rebounder was selected by Southeastern Conference coaches as freshman of the year and a second team All-SEC choice. He averaged 13.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.
Johnson, who is from South Hill, Virginia, says in a statement that after talking with his family and coach John Calipari, getting information from the NBA “is the best thing for me at this time.”
“Keldon is a gym rat who has improved in all areas this season,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “Keldon has the athleticism, physique and skill set to compete at a high level in that league. His ability to make people around him better and his willingness to share and be a great teammate is what will set him apart when he goes through workouts. I fully support his decision to go through this process and get all the information. Whatever he decides, he will have my full support.”