Keldon Johnson was the third former Kentucky Wildcat off the board when the San Antonio Spurs selected the guard with the 29th overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night in New York.
That followed PJ Washington as the 12th pick by the Charlotte Hornets and Tyler Herro as the 13th pick by the Miami Heat.
The news for Johnson came not without some internet confusion.
Shams Charania, an NBA analyst for The Athletic and Stadium, tweeted: “Sources: Cleveland is targeting Kentucky’s Keldon Johnson at No. 26 in the 2019 NBA draft” but then had to backtrack and say that the “Cavaliers pivoted from Keldon Johnson and went with Dylan Windler” instead.
Many projections had Johnson among the first 20 picks, but he still managed to go in the first round and get the fully guaranteed contract that comes with that distinction.
Johnson was the Cats’ third-leading scorer (13.5 points per game) and rebounder (5.9) as a freshman this season.
“Big Blue Nation, thank you for my time here at Kentucky,” Johnson said on April 17. “I really enjoyed it. I had a wonderful experience. You guys made for the best year I could ever have. I really appreciate you guys taking me in as family and one of your own and supporting me through the thick and thin of the season and supporting this team.”
Johnson shot 46.1 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from long range. The SEC’s head coaches named Johnson the league’s freshman of the year.
“Keldon has a game that will translate well to the next level,” UK head coach John Calipari said on April 17. “Of all the players in this draft, he could have one of the best transitions physically and athletically. He has all the tools you look for in a player in that league, and what makes him special is his joy for the game and his passion to get better.”