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Dakari Johnson was “terrific,” said he’s just having fun


A second consecutive disappearance from Willie Cauley-Stein meant more minutes for Dakari Johnson — and he did not disappoint. Johnson’s four points and four rebounds don’t exactly jump off the page, but he played well off the bench in his 16 minutes, well above his season average of nine minutes per contest.

“Willie didn’t play as well as he’d been playing and we went with Dakari, and he was terrific,” Calipari said in his postgame press conference.

Johnson was able to bang inside with Tennessee’s bigs — man, they were big — and he provided a spark early in the second half when Kentucky made its run. I can remember one sequence in particular when Dakari got an offensive rebound, scored, got the defensive rebound on the other end, and led the break (for three or four dribbles) the other way. Andrew Harrison should’ve kicked it back to Dakari to reward him for his hustle running the flooring (and he was wide open) but Andrew drew a foul going against two defenders instead. Dakari waved his arms toward the crowd to fire everyone up after the run.

Dakari told us after the game he was just trying to have fun out there, following Cal’s message before they took the court. He wasn’t ready to call it his breakout performance — he said it was Andrew’s — but he said he has been working hard to stay active on the defensive end, and it showed.

Great game from Dakari, when UK needed him most. Gotta get more from Willie, though.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

16 Comments for Dakari Johnson was “terrific,” said he’s just having fun

  1. playersfan
    3:21 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    WCS needs about 3 hours of rebounding position work, and using 2 hands for rebounds, rather than waving at the ball. He needs the toughest, meanest big man around, to determine if he really wants to play basketball, or just tiptoe around. It’s such a waste with his talent to not jump, or grab the ball, just wave his arms.

  2. Brenda Jenkins
    3:38 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    What have I been saying all season? We MUST take better threes, hit our free throws, and control turnovers. Today, we did it, and we won (but in large measure because the UT outside shooters were too cold today to take advantage of the wide open threes the twins and Young kept giving them). If Young and the twins shoot halfway decent, we can make a season of it.

  3. Doc Preston
    3:42 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Is this the undefeated team that fans expected?
    Calipari is a great guy, but………………………
    This team should have blown UT out…..
    They should not have this number of losses..
    What do you prefer
    Great recruits with losses or great coaching with wins…
    N’uff said…………………..

    • Kristen Geil's Abs
      3:46 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      Doc, you’re an idiot and a coward.

    • theSkinny81
      4:16 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      KGA – I second that.

    • Real Cracka
      5:50 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      I didn’t expect an undefeated team. I’m not a fool like many in BBN.
      Tennessee is a solid team that is way underachieving. #5 Wichita St. only beat them by 9 at home.
      I guess you’ve forgotten about the Elite 8 followed by a Final 4 followed by a Championship.
      N’uff said……………..

  4. kyhank
    4:33 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    I am a WCS kind of guy !! but I am here to tell everyone Willie does not do well when he plays guys his own seize he is just soft, love him but that is a fact !!

  5. Basketball Bennie
    4:45 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    There is still a lot of basketball to be played this season Dakari. Just keep playing hard, like you have been lately, your time will come.

  6. cats42301
    5:08 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    I hate to say it but I question WCS’s commitment. Truth be told if he weren’t 7 feet plus he would be at the end of the bench with Sam and Brian because right now his only positives are shot blocking and he wouldn’t be as successful with that if he weren’t 7 feet. Otherwise, most nights he brings nothing. If he could develop an accurate 8-10 ft. jump shot like Anthony Davis had he would be unstoppable.

    • huh
      6:17 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      anthony hardly ever took a actually jump shot..He mostly just dunked.

  7. jaws2
    5:56 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    . Willie was pushed around all day. I stopped the game about four times and ran it back to show my wife. Even she was making fun of him.

  8. Real Cracka
    5:59 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Dakari is just an all around better player than WCS. If he had Willies 432 minutes played instead of 143 we’d be in a much better place right now. He can post up and score. He doesn’t get pushed around like wcs. The picks he set today were superb and freed up our guards numerous times. He has a great basketball IQ, very fundamentally sound. WCS is just soft and his prima-donna antics off the court just show his limited commitment to the game.

    • bahaha
      9:44 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      Prima donna antics off the court? Do tell, do tell!

  9. huh
    6:21 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    2 bad games and everyone goes from praising wcs to hating him.. come on

  10. Hendo Blue
    6:54 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Hey Doc..that is nuff said…except for…can’t wait to see your guys take a beating at UCONN tonight. What? You’re not a UL fan? Well you should be.

  11. musrat59
    4:14 am January 19, 2014 Permalink

    Willie should have brought his football helmet for the Vols game.