Every time Tennessee gets a commitment in either football or men’s basketball, we will write up an impact report looking at what that recruit does well, what we feel he needs to improve in his game, and what his projected impact with the Vols could be over the next few years.
Latest Commit: Keon Johnson, SG
Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 180 pounds
School: The Webb School (Tennessee)
Home Town: Bell Buckle, TN
247Sports Composite: No. 31 overall, No. 6 SG
247Sports: No. 27 overall, No. 5 SG
Rivals: No. 34 overall, No. 10 SG
Notable Offers: Ohio State. Virginia, Auburn, Florida
What we like:
Unfortunately, not a lot of Keon Johnson’s highlights have his defensive skills on display. But from what film I’ve seen of his defense and from coaches and scouts I’ve talked to who have seen him play, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Johnson is an elite defender. Think Josh Richardson level of defender, only Johnson is even lengthier and more naturally gifted athletically. Johnson’s quick feet help him on both sides of the ball, and he can take two steps and suddenly be right by his defender. He’s extremely effective slashing to the lane, and he’s almost unstoppable once he gets in a rhythm and is moving in beyond the three-point line.
Johnson possesses high-level awareness and basketball IQ. He makes heads up plays and gives 100 percent effort all the time. You’ll never have to worry about Johnson taking plays off or looking out only for himself on the court. He’s a team player, and he possesses some incredible grit to go along with his superb athleticism and defensive prowess.
Places to improve:
Though he’s improved his jump shot a lot over the last couple years, Johnson’s biggest weakness remains his ability as an outside shooter. He can hit mid-range jumpers pretty well, and he’s become an even better free throw shooter. But the one area he still needs to improve the most is as a three-point shooter. He has enough tools and speed to make up for that area not being the strongest, but he does need to develop a more consistent shot there to make himself even more dangerous. Ball handling isn’t necessarily a weakness, but it’s an area that could use a little work. For how fast he is, he rarely seems to play out of control and does a great job maintaining his balance and the handle on the ball.
As his EAB coach, Mark Griffin, told me in an interview about Johnson, he has the talent to potentially be Tennessee’s No. 1 defender as soon as he steps on campus. With Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden set to graduate after this season and only Victor Bailey Jr. and possibly Josiah Jordan-James set to contend with him for minutes at the guard spot (as of right now), I fully expect Johnson to come in and at the very least be a major contributor off the bench as a true freshman for the Vols in 2020. He’ll probably end up starting, though, and he’ll be the guy matched up with the opponent’s top guard every night.