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Dakari Johnson will return to UK for his sophomore season

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Dakari Johnson will return for his sophomore season! The 7′ freshman released this statement through UK minutes ago:

“This year has been for me a year of transition, growth and so much fun! I’ve learned a lot about myself personally through adversity and triumph which I know made me a stronger individual. I would like to thank my brothers (teammates) for pulling together and stepping up and taking the road that many don’t travel. What memories! I would like to thank Coach Cal and the staff for trusting and providing me the opportunity to grow and build on my skills. I’d like to wish Julius Randle and James Young all the best and personally let them know that they have a group of brothers who will always support them.

With that being said, I’m excited about having the option to either enter the 2014 NBA Draft or return to the University of Kentucky. After looking at the information provided to me by Coach Cal and the NBA committee, my family and I made the decision for me to return to UK for my sophomore year.  Returning to school allows me to build on my leadership skills, improve my individual basketball  strength and conditioning skills, and have another opportunity to accomplish one of my individual goals: winning an NCAA national championship in college. In addition, it will give me the opportunity to continue my studies because the ball will stop bouncing one day (shout out to Mike Stone). Big Blue Nation, I can’t thank you enough for your support, and I look forward to representing UK next year.” #StriveforNine

Dakari’s mother, Makini Campbell, also released a statement thanking the Big Blue Nation for a great year and expressing her pride in son:

“I just wanted to take some time to reflect, share, and thank the Big Blue Nation and the coaching staff for a great year of basketball through the ups and downs. Hands down we had a blast! I am so proud of Dakari and the University of Kentucky basketball program on their achievements this year. I had the opportunity to see my son grow as an individual and become the leader that I knew him to be.  I appreciate the space, patience and respect shown to my family during this important time. What a blessing to have an opportunity to choose.

When making a decision (we have made many) we try to look at the whole picture (advantages and disadvantages). I must truly admit when going through the process we saw both sides of the coin as a win-win. I must say that in making his decision, Dakari wasn’t worried about any other player coming back/or in. I think what he learned this year — regardless of a loaded talented team — is that each player brings something unique to the group that attributed to the March run. I’ve always been aware of his goal to win a national championship in high school, college, and the NBA. For him to confidently state what he did after his national high school championship game and make it to the finals in his freshman year of college was prosperous within itself. All of this while successfully working on his degree and enjoying college life whenever he could. I respect each of the young men having to make this decision. Congrats to Julius Randle and James Young for making their dream reality; I wish them all the best. I’m excited about the upcoming season and what lies ahead for this group.” #StriveforNine

Makini Campbell
#44 Mommy

dakarihappy

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

74 Comments for Dakari Johnson will return to UK for his sophomore season



  1. the ghost of Bill Hicks
    4:05 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Oh yell yeah! Twins…..C’MON DOWN!



  2. Josh
    4:06 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    1) Yay for Dakari!

    2) Will the Poythress article return?



  3. Chicago Chris
    4:08 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Great news. Dakari’s play in the absence of Cauley-Stein for the last four games was reminiscent of Harrelson stepping up, in my mind. Want to thumb my nose at people saying that all our guys are one-and-dones… many who could leave, don’t. Maybe most even, at this point?

    Also think this could influence the twins to stay – chance to come back and legitimately win a championship.



    • Megan
      5:58 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      An earlier article said Julius was the 12th one-and-done in Calipari’s five years at Kentucky. That’s an average of 2.4 a year.

      THAT’s what the one-and-done scolds are upset about? Is that one too many for them?



  4. UK
    4:08 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Cal plans announcements. Harrison twins, James Young, and Marcus Lee all committed during the All-Access show. Julius Randle committed after the NIT loss.

    Now, would Cal let the last people to announce deflate the spirit of the BBN? Think about it…..



    • hell cat
      4:10 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      I think Cal might let Hawkins go ahead and announce now, even if it does deflate spirits some.



  5. Hoppertown USA
    4:08 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    COME ON TWINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  6. Morehead Cat
    4:09 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Now the question becomes are there enough rebounds to go around next year lol



    • Mr. Obvious
      4:37 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Yes, if the defense is good enough to make the opponents miss at a high rate.



  7. Chuck
    4:09 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    This is great news ! Thanks Dakari and Go Big Blue !!



    • Gayle Niemeyer
      5:51 pm April 25, 2014 Permalink

      Thanks Dakari. We are so proud of you! So glad you’re staying IN YOUR OLD KENTUCKY HOME!!!!!



  8. Ed has Tickets
    4:09 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Good grief, Kentucky just secured an #8 seed next year….in the NBA playoffs!



    • tom
      4:22 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Good one!



  9. mycats
    4:10 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Will there be a shot made within 10 ft of the basket next year?



  10. IT'S HAPPENING!!!
    4:10 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink


  11. tom
    4:12 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Oh WOW. Can anyone challenge us next year if the Twins return (at least on paper)?



  12. Blue Truth
    4:12 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Wow. Imagine the front court next year.

    Dakari
    Willie
    Poythress
    Lyles
    Towns

    Friggin’ awesome!



    • Big J
      4:29 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      How can you forget Lee and Willis?!?



    • Peas and Carrots
      4:30 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      We don’t have to imagine, we will see.



  13. Al/in/Indy
    4:13 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Good for Dakari…..I was hoping he’d return, C’mon Double A’s…..Let’s have a couch burning party!!!!



  14. struggler
    4:13 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Again… Billy Donovan, The collective SEC and yes…. UL just crapped their pants a little… a little more since Alex’s decision announcements…. Come on guard play!!!!



  15. Don't Lean Over Your Skis
    4:15 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Did those 40 – 0 shirts have a year on them?



    • Jughead
      4:22 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      ******crickets********



  16. stevem
    4:15 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Congratulations Dakari! Great to have you back! #9 baby!



  17. somerset bill
    4:17 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    ‘scuse me while i put on my woot! suit.



    • Whut Suit
      5:26 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      At first I thought this said wool suit. Not sure which is more ridiculous.



  18. I. Melvin
    4:18 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    To quote Tom Petty:

    “Oh, my my. Oh, hell yes”.



  19. big blue fan 22
    4:18 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    So he wished young and randle both good luck but not the twins…..think he knows something ??



    • West Virginia Wildcat
      4:32 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      I think he knows that James and Julius already announced and the twins haven’t. I wouldn’t read anything more than that into it, as much as I would like to.



  20. Strategery!
    4:19 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Cal could conceivably “go big” with the lineup and have 4 power forwards and a center on the court. I dare anyone to drive the lane or rebound over those 5.



  21. ChiCat
    4:19 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    I’m happy for Dakari, but how is this rotation going to work next year?



    • Dana
      7:16 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Depends on how Coach Calipari wants to do things. When UK was loaded under Rick Pitino, the best players were averaging less than thirty minutes a game, because Coach Pitino had so many good players that he could go deep on the bench and not have a drop off in talent. So far, that hasn’t been Coach Calipari’s style.



  22. Hayley's quadriceps
    4:19 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Oh shit.



  23. UKSoCal
    4:20 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    What in the world is Goodman talking about? Claimed the twins and Dakari have already declared for the draft?

    http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/10827620/kentucky-wildcats-sophomore-alex-poythress-return-bypass-nba-draft



    • Reality
      4:28 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Goodman isn’t what you’d call a “journalist”… more like “hack who makes stuff up hoping he’s right so it’s a ‘scoop'”



    • Megan
      6:04 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Appears to have been corrected.



  24. Jrod
    4:21 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    This is crazy! We will have 3 seven footers all but one can play PF, 2 six ten athletic PF, Pythrus 3 or 4 Beast….do you think Cal will try zone more next year? think how hard it would be to score on this line up in a zone: 5-Dakari, 4-Willie, 3-Trey/Alex, 2-Aa (hope), 1-And (hope again)….then on the offensive end let those bigs beat an bang with set plays to get high lows, screen and rolls etc. to get them in rebounding position…



    • Peas and Carrots
      4:36 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Towns can play the 4, maybe even some 3 if he doesn’t have to run around too much.



    • Mover and/or Shaker
      5:31 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      I don’t know about Towns at the 3, but I think we will definitely see Lyles play 3 at some point. We’re crazy deep at 4 and 5. We only have Alex and Willis at the 3. Either Booker or Lyles may have to play some 3 .



  25. Ralph
    4:21 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    The Johnsons are a very well spoken family. Impressive! And best of all welcome back!



    • Megan
      7:18 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      I’m curious why you felt the need to point it out. Maybe because it pleasantly surprised you. For some reason. The soft bigotry of low expectations, perhaps.

      I’m sure you’re unaware, but the subtext is inherently offensive to others because it suggests that the recipient of the “compliment” is notably different. And there’s no need to go there. Bless you for meaning well, but such a remark makes other black people cringe.

      It’s confusing, I know. But next time you’ll be more aware. At least you didn’t say “articulate.”



    • Brian
      7:47 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Megan, I saw absolutely nothing that would make black people or any other race cringe. Ralph’s statement could be made if Dakari was white, black, American Indian, Asian, or whatever. The statement was meant as a compliment and I am sure that Dakari’s family took it as such. There is too much political correctness in today’s world. Everybody is too concerned about offending somebody ever how subtle.

      Dakari Johnson improved greatly throughout the year and will be even better next year. He seems to have a very good head on his shoulders. I can’t wait to see this group play next year!



  26. rick
    4:21 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Great news, I can see it now Marcus Lee and Alex at guard , Johnson, WCS, and Towns at foward and center, now thats a big team. Just kidding. If the twins go we are going to have a great team if they stay we are going to have a great team. Can’t lose no matter what they do.



  27. Twins Tattoo
    4:21 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Quick, two people promise the twins that they will get each of their faces tattooed if they return! Any takers?



  28. T.J.
    4:21 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Hickory Dickory Johnson!!!



  29. Drewdown
    4:23 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Well said, Dakari and ‘mommy’, well said. BBN



  30. Jughead
    4:23 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Siete hombres con huevos grandes!



  31. DAKARI STOOPS
    4:24 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    YES!!!!!! Welcome back home Dakari!!



  32. explorer
    4:24 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    This great news. Having a deep bench is does provide some security. But, the fact is you can only play five guys. So I think a deep bench can get over rated at times. Especially in the tournament with all the tv timeouts.



    • rick
      4:35 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Gloom and doom, how can you make a negative out of this?



    • Jughead
      4:38 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      OK, I think you get the dumb-comment-of-the-day award. Everyone knows–even Miley Cyrus–that deeper is better. And, exactly WTF do TV timeouts have to do with the price of meth in Louisville?



    • Megan
      7:22 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      I’m here to tell you deeper IS better. Don’t let anyone tell you different.



    • Gayle Niemeyer
      5:48 pm April 25, 2014 Permalink

      explorer…. You have given yourself away…..red bird



  33. Greg
    4:24 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Good for Dakari. I think this will be great for him.



  34. Cato
    4:26 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    If the Twins come back next year, what’s your best guess at a starting lineup now? (WOW, This was fun) Mine:

    STARTERS BENCH
    Andrew Ulis
    Aaron Booker, Dominique
    Poythress Lee
    Towns Lyles
    Cauley-Stein Dakari



    • Cato
      4:27 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      (formatting fix)

      STARTERS

      Andrew, Aaron, Poythress, Towns, Cauley-Stein

      BENCH

      Ulis, Booker, Nique, Lee, Lyles, Dakari



    • JRod
      4:48 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Starters Twins on Team:
      Drew, Aaron, Alex, Towns and Willie

      Backups w/ Twins:
      Ullis, Booker, Lyles, Marcus and Dakari

      You will not see more than 10 deep play per game accept blow outs. Because Poythrus and Lyles can play the three in any offense..but you could also see line ups with Alex at the two..

      Starters no twins:
      Ullis, Alex, Lyles, Towns and Willie (shooting threes will not be our strong suite but this would be an isolation offense. Screens and post smaller players) Ullis, Alex, Lyles and Towns can shoot threes tho..

      Bench no twins:
      Hawkins, Booker, Dakari, Marcus and Willis



    • Cato
      4:58 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      I think starters no twins would look more like this:

      Ulis, Booker, Poythress, Dakari, Karl Towns. I think Poythress stays at the three and Booker takes a firm grip on the two with his deadly shooting. Cal will have a tough time choosing between Towns and WCS because of their similar builds, but I think Towns’ ability to stretch the floor will earn him the start in this rotation, saving WCS’ leadership to come off of and spark the bench.

      That would leave Hawkins at reserve guard with Lee, WCS, Lyles down low.

      Will we see more press next year, like what was promised this year … ala Bruce Pearl???



  35. Terry Jipton
    4:26 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    This does not bode well for Kentucky – having 5 NBA caliber players in the front court leaves no room for any of the guards to see the court, which means the Harrison twins are almost surely going to the NBA. Why would Calipari, who has emphasized that defense is the secret to his success, allow smaller players like the Harrisons at only 6’6″ to play over all of the men on our team over 6’9″?

    Oh BBN, I’m so sorry for the heartbreak you’ll experience next season.



    • Candace
      5:22 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Awwww….you poor little pitiful hating thing. Bless your heart x



    • CapitalH
      6:12 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Satire – how does it work?



  36. ChicagoCat
    4:30 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    The sheer size of our front court is blowing my mind. Biggest team ever?? Someone get ESPN Stats & Information on the phone.



  37. Jughead
    4:34 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    James Blackmon just kicked himself. Again.



    • TC Hoosier
      4:47 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      I’ve been thinking about James Blackmon, Jr. A lot.



  38. BurnerTurner5
    4:41 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    So what is Alex’s nickname going to be next year? Shorty?



  39. bbn4life
    4:41 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Thank you #44 mommy for trusting pur program with your sons best interests. I think he made the right choice and i hope and pray it pays off huge for him



  40. Wait...
    4:42 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Didn’t ESPN do an article called “Going Big: Kentucky” or something of that nature a few years ago??? They finally got one right that they don’t have to back peddle from lol.



  41. JR4UK
    4:44 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    This makes Cal’s most experienced team at UK, right? Especially if the twins come back? Someone please tell the media to drop the UK/Cal “One and Done” story for at least one year.



  42. RealCatsFan
    4:55 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Not only are these kids extremely good on the court, but it is obvious that they are very intelligent and well-spoken as well. I’m totally impressed with them.



  43. Candace
    5:15 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Lord have mercy, I am about to blackout from joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  44. Mack
    5:32 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    WOW! JUST WOW! Can not wait! These guys are really lucky to have the family support we have seen, it’s almost as if coach interviews the families as much as the young men.



  45. Reality
    6:08 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Here we go with all the expectations that just kills the enjoyment of following the cats when they don’t go 40-0. This team just lost 10 games and now has lost its two best players (including about all their scoring and rebounding). None of these recruits coming in will come close to matching the production of Randell!! The facts are we have no clue how this team will pan out. Can we not just enjoy watching them without the crazy expectations?



  46. Tx Cat
    2:28 am April 24, 2014 Permalink

    Megan…your comments are unfortunate and ignorant.