Ex-Cats

‘Just let it fly.’ 29th pick Keldon Johnson scores 29 in summer league win.

Keldon Johnson: A look back at the Kentucky guard’s 2018-19 season

University of Kentucky men’s basketball player Keldon Johnson played one season in Lexington before announcing he would enter the NBA Draft.
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University of Kentucky men’s basketball player Keldon Johnson played one season in Lexington before announcing he would enter the NBA Draft.

Former Kentucky star Keldon Johnson made his second NBA summer league game a night to remember.

The 29th overall pick in the draft scored 29 points in the San Antonio Spurs 99-84 win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night in Salt Lake City.

His 10-for-17 performance from the field included a 55-footer to end the third quarter.

“Just let it fly,” he said. “... I had some open shots and I took them. That’s what it’s about.”

He also had seven rebounds and three steals, and he finished 3-for-4 from three-point range.

“Expecting that every day is a lot, but he was good,” Spurs summer league coach Blake Ahearn said. “He’s aggressive, physical, guards, gives great effort, and I think that helped with the offense part, too.”

The San Antonio Express-News’ Tom Orsborn said Johnson focused on his defense, not his offense, in his postgame interview.

“You have to communicate, you got to talk, you have to stay in (sync) with each other. Make sure you know the rotations, make sure you are not late,” Johnson said of what he’s learned so far. “And if you are late, keep hustling, keep scrambling.”

Teammate Thomas Robinson called Johnson “Baby Russ,” as in Russell Westbrook, Orsborn tweeted.

“He doesn’t get tired, he’s stupid aggressive .. .big, athletic,” Robinson said of Johnson. “I definitely see the makings of a superstar in him.”

Johnson had been held to four points in his summer league debut against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.

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Dennis Varney is the assistant sports editor for the Lexington Herald-Leader and Kentucky.com. He is a Pike County native and Western Kentucky alum. He has also worked at The Times of Northwest Indiana, The Seattle Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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