He may not have played a whole lot of minutes or scored many points over the course of his four-year career, but Kentucky walk-on guard Jonny David has made an impact on the team that extends well beyond the box score each night.
Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne said this afternoon that without David’s positive influence in the locker room and guidance as a role model in the UK facilities every day, this program simply wouldn’t be what it is right now without him.
“Jonny David is one of the kids that has been here that’s made a major impact through practice, through being a positive influence on his teammates,” Payne said. “He gets along with everybody. He’s supportive of everybody. He doesn’t get the credit which none of these kids do when you’re in a role like he’s in. But, the day-to-day stuff that he brings to the table keeping guys positive on the bench, working out in practices, playing every position on the floor.”
Used as a human victory formation over the course of his four seasons in Lexington, David has accumulated a total of seven points, one rebound, and four shot attempts (1-4 overall, 1-3 from three) in 30 career games.
And Saturday, David will go through Senior Day facilities and start in his final game as a Kentucky player at Rupp Arena.
“I really didn’t hit me until today,” David said. “A lot of stuff was coming out. Obviously, I’ve thought about, yeah, it’s my last time at Rupp and everything. But it kind of hit me today, it’s the last time, I got a little sad for a second. But it’s more about celebrating it and celebrating the four years and I’m looking forward to it.”
During Kentucky games, it has become a tradition for the Big Blue Nation to erupt when David tosses away the warmups and jogs over to the scorer’s table.
When he steps onto the Rupp Arena floor, though, it’s the deafening “SHOOOOOT” chants that mean the world to the senior guard.
And tomorrow, you better believe he’ll make the most of those chants if the opportunity presents itself. If not, just coming away with a victory will more than make up for it.
“I’m not going to unnecessarily force anything up, but I won’t pass up a shot, I’ll tell you that,” David said. “I just hope as a team, we get better, we get the win. That’s really what it’s all about. I’m a team guy, not a selfish person at all. If anything else happens, that’s a bonus.”
What will David remember most about his time in Lexington? A few specific things stand out.
“Just everything. The program in general. It’s the top in the country. The people, especially all of the behind the scenes people that I’ve become close with over four years. The coaches, the town. The relationships that I’ve built are definitely going to last a lifetime, but those are things I will definitely miss.”
Will he get emotional?
“I don’t know, that’s going to be an in the moment thing. I think I’ll be more happy,” he said. “It’s more about us celebrating four years being here. It’s going to be an in the moment kind of thing.”
When asked about his best memory at Kentucky, he reminisced about his freshman season when he got to go heads-up with his brother when the Cats took on South Florida in 2015.
“It’s still probably my freshman year, down in Miami, we played USF and I got to play against my brother, score my first points,” he said. “He still brings that up when Isaac (Humphries) swatted him when he drove. That’s probably still one of my best memories.”
The Kentucky men’s basketball Twitter account sent out a video this afternoon highlighting David’s time in Lexington.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) March 8, 2019
Kentucky head coach John Calipari also had one final message for his senior guard before his big day.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) March 8, 2019
Here was David’s entire media appearance Friday afternoon:
One final hoorah. Go get ‘em, Jonny.