Say it with me, friends: Keldon Freaking Johnson. On Friday, the former Cat was a surprise addition to Team USA’s roster for the Tokyo Olympics, and last night, he showed why he’s worthy. In Team USA’s 83-76 win over Spain, Johnson came off the bench to score 15 points on 7-9 shooting and finished with a team-best +18 in efficiency. He had ten points in the third quarter alone, and when he checked out, received a huge ovation from the crowd at Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay.
“Keldon Johnson just played a really solid basketball game,” said Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich, who coaches Johnson with the San Antonio Spurs. “He shot if he was open, he made cuts to the bucket. When he did go to the bucket, he was very physical. And he was solid in the half-court defense. So, he had a very, very good night.”
“He played great,” teammate Damian Lillard said. “There is a reason why, once a few guys weren’t able to continue with the team, there’s a reason why he was asked to stay.”
“Just being active, being a spark,” Johnson said of his performance. “I’m here to be the energy guy and bring life to the team whenever we need it. In the third quarter when I came in, we needed a spark.”
Fellow former Cat Bam Adebayo finished with four points, five rebounds, four assists, and a steal. Devin Booker will join the squad once the NBA Finals wrap up, which could be as early as tomorrow night. After a rocky start, Team USA finishes its exhibition tour 2-2. Today, they’ll head to Tokyo to prepare for the Olympics, which start Friday. Their first game is July 25 vs. France.
Elsewhere on the sports landscape…
SEC Media Days begin today
Talking season has officially begun. Today, SEC Media Days kick off in Hoover, Alabama, with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and representatives from Florida, LSU, and South Carolina all taking the stage at the Wynfrey Hotel. Nick Roush and Adam Luckett are in the building for us and ready to roll. Here’s the schedule (all times EST):
11:30 a.m.: SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey
12:15 p.m.: Florida — Dan Mullen; Zach Carter, DL; Ventrell Miller, LB
1:40 p.m.: LSU — Ed Orgeron; Austin Deculus, OT; Derek Stingley Jr., DB
3 p.m.: South Carolina — Shane Beamer; Kingsley Enagbare, DE; Nick Muse, TE
Mark Stoops, Darian Kinnard, and Josh Paschal take their turn in front of the mics tomorrow. We’ll have plenty of coverage of all of the happenings in Hoover (is the lamp still there??), so stay tuned.
JT Poston loses a heartbreaker at the Barbasol Championship
If you didn’t watch the Barbasol Championship last night, you missed out. JT Poston and Seasmus Power went toe-to-toe through five holes in a sudden death playoff at Keene Trace before Powers ultimately won out on the sixth. Obviously, we’re big fans of Poston and his caddie, former KSR writer Aaron Flener, around here, so we were heartbroken at the outcome, but very proud of our friends. Dr. Mike was on the course and captured some of the action, including a family of ducks that was ready for things to wrap up so they could get on with their Sunday.
To see more, click through to Dr. Mike’s Facebook gallery.
Day off at the Peach Jam
The regular season portion of the Nike Peach Jam wrapped up yesterday and tomorrow, elimination rounds begin. That means no games today, which gives you a great opportunity to catch up on Jack Pilgrim’s coverage:
Jack got back from North Augusta late last night and will have plenty more scoop to share as the day and week rolls on.
Matt Jones is BACK
After a two-week vacation, Matt Jones is back in studio, and something tells me he’s got a lot to say about everything that happened while he was gone. The fun starts at 10 a.m.