This afternoon, John Calipari met with Alex Poythress and Dakari Johnson to discuss their futures at Kentucky. Earlier, I listed the reasons Alex should stay for his junior year, and now, it’s time to do the same for Dakari.
— Gamble on the second round or work towards the lottery? For Dakari, it’s all about potential. Right now, Dakari’s projected to be a second round pick just because of his upside. However, with a year of conditioning and continued development, Dakari could be one of the best big men in the country. So, gamble on the second round (no guaranteed contract), or come back and work towards the lottery? Doesn’t seem difficult to me.
— Conditioning: Dakari played his way into the starting lineup this season and became one of the “energy guys” for the Cats, but that energy couldn’t last a whole game. Dakari averaged 14.1 minutes per game, and at times in the tournament, was gassed during key stretches. He’s already come leaps and bounds from where he was last summer, but Dakari needs to run, run, run to get the pounds off and the stamina up.
— Develop skills: I love Dakari, but no one’s ever going to call him “athletic.” The good news for him is he’s 7′ tall and has some great hands, which more often than not leads to automatic points in the paint. However, he needs to work on his foot speed and polish his offensive skills.
The biggest question for Dakari is if he’d rather work on his skills and conditioning in the D-League or in school. Kentucky’s front court will be loaded next year, but when NBA guys see Dakari, they think project. With another year of development at UK, Dakari could increase his stock more than any other player on the team.
What would you say to Dakari?