Well, this is an lovely surprise! We began today thinking that the off weekend meant a slow day in the Big Blue Nation. Boy, were we wrong. It seems that if Kentucky isn’t playing on national television, ESPN will find some other way to showcase the Wildcats. Today, they’ll do so by airing the commitment of Dakari Johnson, a 6’10″/250 lb center with all the necessary accolades to become a Wildcat: top center in the class of 2013, No. 12 overall prospect, five stars, member of the Team USA that won the FIBA U17 World Championship this past summer, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s “lil bro” and teammate at St. Patrick’s, and poops ice cream. That last one is unconfirmed, but you get the point.
After jokingly telling teammates and reporters that he would be committing to “Phoenix Online,” Dakari Johnson is deciding among Kentucky, Syracuse, and Georgetown. Turn your televisions to ESPNU, wait for halftime of the 8 pm Cancer Research Classic game, and settle in. Click refresh on this page every so often as I’ll be updating you on Johnson’s every move leading up to the announcement. Let’s have some fun.
8:49 pm: Phoenix Online is really salty right now.
8:48 pm: Biggest factors? The coaches, who Johnson felt were honest about the hard work and selflessness required to be a Wildcat. Kentucky fans can expect Johnson to be a hard worker, a presence in the post on both offense and defense, and a great teammate.
8:47 pm: KENTUCKY!
8:46 pm: Fit was most important to Dakari in his decision. He wants to win championships in high school, college, and NBA. Yes…
8:45 pm: Dakari looking sharp in a purple polo. Talking with announcers about the suddenness of his announcement. The decision to announce early came after discussing it with his family.
8:44 pm: Here we go…
8:43 pm: HALFTIME. Let’s do this.
8:42 pm: The Salesian vs Gonzaga high school game feaures Jabari Bird, who’s committed to California. Every time the announcer mentions Bird and Cal, my heart jumps thinking he means Coach Calipari. #KentuckyEffect
8:38 pm: In case you forgot, Johnson and Montverde (what a lovely name for a school) are coming off an emphatic 82-53 win over Jabari Parker and Simeon. At the end of the third quarter, Johnson had 12 points and 9 rebounds on 6-8 shooting while Coach Cal and Coach O watched.
8:35 pm: Dakari just tweeted “Decision time.” I’m geeking.
8:32 pm: The current Cancer Research Classic game, Salesian vs Gonzaga, has five minutes left in the half. I have the commitment jitters already. It’s probably unnecessary, but I feel alive.
8:25 pm: I have spent the time preceding the announcement by thoroughly researching Dakari Johnson, seeing as how I’m a serious and professional journalist. My favorite nuggets of information so far have hailed from his bio on USA Basketball’s website. For example, Dakari’s favorite app is Temple Run and he has once held a position as a babysitter. Similarly, I am babysitting as we speak. The kids are in bed. I think.