5-Star Vol Commit Compared to NBA Lottery Pick

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    (Photo via USA Basketball Junior National Teams)

    Five-star Vol commit Keon Johnson has sky-rocketed up recruiting rankings over the last three or four months because of his superb showing in the spring and summer against elite competition in the AAU circuit. This past weekend, Johnson again caught the attention of scouts at the 2019 USA Basketball October minicamp.

    Johnson was one of several highly-rated prospects in the 2020 and 2021 classes to participate in the minicamp, and by all accounts he was one of the standouts of the event.

    According to the analysts at SUVtv.com, Johnson reminded them of Murray State standout and No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Ja Morant, with his performance at the minicamp.

    “The Tennessee commit has a Ja Morant flare to his game,” SUVtv.com said of Johnson’s play at the USA Basketball minicamp. “He is an elite athlete who is a blur on both ends of the court and he had the dunk of the day in the area of Evan Mobley (No. 1 overall prospect in 2020 class). He could end up one of the kids not ranked in the Top 20 who sneaks into the McDonald’s game and ends up SEC Freshman of the year.”

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    Morant was take No. 2 overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA Draft over the summer after putting together a remarkable 2018-19 season as Murray State’s point guard. Morant was a consensus first-team All-American and the winner of the Bob Cousy Award — the award given annually to the top point guard in college basketball. Morant averaged 24.5 points, 10.0 assists, and 5.7 rebounds a game as a sophomore.

    But the analysts over at SUVtv aren’t the only ones who were impressed with Johnson’s play.

    Eric Bossi of Rivals.com made a list of the five teams who should feel good about the future of their program after the USA Basketball minicamp. Bossi included Tennessee as one of those five teams because of the performance of Johnson.

    “Tennessee fans are going to absolutely love committed shooting guard Keon Johnson,” Bossi wrote. “This kid impacts winning on both the offensive and defensive sides of the floor and his transformation from a hard-playing athlete into a skilled wing has been impressive to watch. He keeps getting better and better as a ball-handler, passer and scorer and could be an All-SEC level defender the moment he hits the floor in Knoxville.”

    Bossi also added that the Vols are “in a good spot” for five-star guard Jaden Springer (who was in attendance but sat out as he recovers from a broken foot he suffered in the offseason). Springer took an official visit to UT’s campus two weeks ago during the Vols’ football game against Georgia, marking his fifth and final official visit before he’s set to make a commitment announcement sometime in the near future.

    Johnson, who is the No. 23 overall prospect and No. 1 player in the state of Tennessee according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, committed to the Vols back on August 6th, choosing UT over Ohio State, Virginia, and others.

    The 6-foot-5, 180-pound guard plays for The Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN, and he played with EAB Tennessee in the AAU circuit. Johnson earned his fifth star by recruiting services in the most recent update back in late summer. If his rating stays the way it is now and he signs with the Vols, Johnson will be the third-highest rated prospect to ever sign with Tennessee in men’s basketball according to 247Sports, coming in behind only Tobias Harris and Scotty Hopson.