When you’re a high school basketball recruit and somebody like Kevin Durant — one of the greatest players in the NBA — is talking about your game, you notice.
Keldon Johnson acknowledged that Saturday night after playing his second game in as many days at the Marshall County Hoop Fest.
Earlier in the week, Durant had posted a video to his YouTube channel where he watched video highlights of top recruits and commented on their play.
Johnson, who signed with Kentucky last month, was one of those recruits.
The comments from Durant on the future Wildcat were largely positive — praising him as a dynamic scorer with “everything you need one-on-one” — but the Golden State Warriors star also said the next step in Johnson’s progression would be “figuring out the team game.”
That’s apparently the part Johnson remembered most.
“It means a lot for Kevin Durant to be talking about you,” he said. “I looked at that video and took some of his advice. Everybody knows I can score, but now it’s just being a better teammate and getting my teammates more involved. So that’s the main aspect I’m trying to focus on — not necessarily just scoring all the time, but making my teammates happy.
“So we all can have fun, instead of just one person having fun.”
Johnson’s in the right place to take that next step.
In his first season at Oak Hill Academy (Va.), the high school senior is surrounded by other ultra-talented prospects.
Johnson is one of the best offensive players in the country, but he didn’t lead Oak Hill in scoring in either game at the Hoop Fest. Florida signee Keyontae Johnson had 24 points in the first one Friday. Oregon signee Will Richardson scored 23 points in Saturday’s victory.
Keldon Johnson averaged 15.5 points and 6.0 rebounds over the two games, but he’s not having to do everything himself. This season’s experience will be proper preparation for next season under John Calipari, who every year must figure out a way for several five-star talents to co-exist on the same court.
“It’s amazing,” Johnson said. “It gets you ready for the next level, because all of us are good. It’s not necessarily saying you have to go out there and score 30 every night to win, because you have other great players on your team.
“Once everybody comes together — which we’re doing now — and everybody plays as one, it could a scary sight. Very scary.”