CHICAGO — The NBA measured former Kentucky big man Dakari Johnson's vertical hop — er, leap — at 25 inches. That was the least of any player in this week's NBA Combine. The NBA weighed him at Combine-high 265 pounds, or 10 more than UK listed Johnson.
Out of shape?
"Oh, no, I'm not," Johnson said. "A lot of people are saying that, but no, I'm not out of shape. I've been working out in L.A. for the past week and I'm going back for two weeks, and my guy's been killing me. It's been great, though."
Johnson acknowledged that he took a break from conditioning once Kentucky's season ended at the Final Four.
"Most definitely," he said. "After the season, I definitely took a week or two off, but this past week I've really been getting back into it. The next two weeks should be even better."
Johnson and Devin Booker were in Los Angeles last week working out under the tutelage of former UCLA star Don MacLean, who is tied to the agent Leon Rose. "After the combine, I'll def go out there for two more weeks and continue working," he said.
Yoga is part of MacLean's workout regiment.
When asked how good Johnson was at yoga, Booker pretended not to hear. "How bad?" he said.
"I wasn't near him," Booker said. "I didn't want to be near Dakari. I didn't want him to tip over on me."
Willie Cauley-Stein described Johnson in glowing terms.
"The dude has a will to win," he said. "He can score. That's what he does. Put him on the block. He can score. He can do a lot of different things. He's got a big body. He's got a pro body already. I think once he gets drafted and gets molded into a system, then he's going to be one of the better dudes that came out of our (UK) team."
Johnson did not play in the five-on-five games at the Combine.
"My agent said it was just best for me not to play in it," he said. "I have a lot of team workouts coming up, so (he wants me) to just get myself prepared for those."
Johnson said he thought he'd do better in individual workouts for NBA teams.
"Yeah, and that'll give me more time to get more prepared," he said. "I've been working out intensely for the past week, and the next two weeks I'm going to be working out really hard with my trainer that I'm out with in L.A. So I think that'll prepare me well."
Aaron Harrison struggled in Friday's Combine game. He made four of 15 shots , which brought his two-game shooting here to 5-for-21.
"I didn't shoot well at all," he said before adding, "I think people know I'm a good shooter. It's just a rough couple of days. I think I'll be fine. I just need a couple days in the gym, and I'll be fine."
Harrison acknowledged that he felt pressure to perform.
"I mean, maybe," he said with reluctance.
Harrison expressed surprise that he scored 15 points. "Did I?" he said. "Today? Oh, wow. I'll take it.
"If I'm not hitting shots and scoring 15 points and getting to the line, I think that just shows my versatility."
Andrew Harrison made one of six shots on Friday. He did have seven assists. Andrew took up for Aaron.
"Who did shoot well?" he said. "I didn't see anybody shoot well."
Penny for your thoughts
Johnson on the strangest question he heard from NBA teams:
"Uh, yeah. I think after one of the interviews — it was early in the morning — and one team (later identified as the Timberwolves) asked me how many pennies are in a million dollars? So it kind of took me a while to figure it out. It's a hundred million pennies."
How long did it take? "It took me about five minutes," he said. "It was my first interview at 8 o'clock in the morning."
Shooters in demand
Booker nodded when asked if NBA teams asked about his shooting.
"Mostly the first thing teams say to me (is) every team needs a shooter," he said. "And if you've got one, two ain't bad, as you see with the Golden State Warriors."
Trey Lyles was asked about having a tattoo of a lion's head on the big finger of his left hand, which he got last summer.
"My favorite animal," he said. "When I think of a lion, I think of a king. And that's what I want to go down as: a king."