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What would you say to Dakari Johnson?

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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?

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.

54 Comments for What would you say to Dakari Johnson?



  1. Leslie
    4:02 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I’d say…please stay!!!



    • Brad
      4:23 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

      No fat chicks



  2. Peas and Carrots
    4:04 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    You look like a fool.



  3. TheRealDub
    4:07 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    stop sticking your tongue out in pictures…



  4. hi
    4:07 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Please be with me then we’d kiss



    • Musehobo
      4:09 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

      Chances “I would say” and “hi” have the same IP address?



  5. TheRealDub
    4:08 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    easily a lottery pick if he comes back another year….. EASILY!



    • Peas and Carrots
      4:33 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

      pffft… Hardly!



  6. Rei
    4:09 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I think you have him confused with Montreal Harrell



  7. raccoon
    4:11 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Conditioning and development can happen anywhere. But he will be in much better financial shape with a guaranteed contract. Right now he is probably a second-round pick and there is a near 100% chance he’ll be a first rounder next year, if not a lottery pick.



  8. cristoforoUK
    4:11 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    The depth in the frontcourt can also be spun into a positive. Dakari, Willie, and Marcus know they’ll be going against future NBA players every single day in practice, no matter who they match up against. That is great for development. So play against NBA players at UK, in the limelight, and compete for a national championship or play against NBA players in the D league, in obscurity, with a minimal salary (if taken in the second round)?



  9. goose
    4:14 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Your college years are and will be the best years of your life. Enjoy them while you can…



    • Megan
      4:40 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

      I agree, goose, and I don’t hear nearly enough people giving that the consideration it deserves. You can come back to finish your degree, but it won’t be the same. Cal once said that some of his NBA players have told him they wish they had stayed another year.



  10. Trez Sez
    4:17 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    L1C6



  11. @KrisShera
    4:18 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I’d tell him to offer to get a Julius Randle tattoo.



  12. Syrin
    4:20 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Work on foot work, develop a mid range jump shop, average 12 and 10, enjoy being a top ten pick



  13. yankeecpt
    4:22 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    do you know who daniel orton is? no?
    well, he thought he was ready too.



  14. Blue Hair
    4:23 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Waiting for the “What would you say to Sam Malone?” post, because I have a lot to say.



    • Shooooooooot!!!
      4:40 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

      ^^^^^^^



  15. Steve
    4:23 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    You look like a middle schooler.



    • Steve
      4:25 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

      Please delete this. It was in response to an idiotic post that has since been deleted.



    • Peas and Carrots
      4:36 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

      No! It’s going to stay there FOR EVER.



  16. SoCalCat
    4:24 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    He would be eaten for lunch by the NBA if he leaves now. At least a 3-4 year project; unclear if he’ll ever be an NBA player of any worth.



  17. Jordan
    4:25 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I’d suggest to him to redshirt next year or go ahead and enter the draft.



  18. CATSCATSCATS
    4:26 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Anthony Davis scored the fifth most points on the team, we’re a young team, I’d take talent over experience every time, we are college basketball



  19. Dale
    4:28 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Stay….
    1. Shot at a Championship
    2. More $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$



  20. NBA league pass
    4:31 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I would tell him the same thing as the others, aside from Young and Randle (and I think either one of them could benefit from staying, just hard to justify if you’re going in the lottery).



  21. Chester
    4:36 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I’d say take the money and run.



    • Pistol Pete
      6:23 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

      Yeah, you Loserville fans would like that



  22. Mc
    4:37 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    He averaged about 19.5 minutes per game from 3/1 on. I think his conditioning is somewhat of an issue. However, the other problem is simply that there are certain games he’s not quick enough, or athletic enough to be on the court. Especially if he’s not finishing on offense or bricking his free throws.

    He’ll do what’s best for him and his family. Tough choice for him.



  23. Sully
    4:43 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    1. Work on your body–fat content down, add muscle, work on stamina, add six inches to vertical.

    2. Get up 500 shots a day from elbows in.

    3. Be high in 2015 lottery.



    • Sandman
      4:56 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

      Add to your list a left and right baby hook. Dakari is not out jumping any the the centers in the NBA, so he needs to find a shot to go to in the pros.



  24. Megan
    4:44 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    At the last press conference, a reporter asked Cal whether kids develop better in the D-League or in college. He deflected by telling him to ask the players who’ve been in the D-League. They would have a good perspective on it. But then he gave something of an answer by saying you wouldn’t be wasting your time coming back to play for him.

    So who knows. It would seem to make more sense to improve his draft position significantly, which he can certainly do next season at UK. But I’m just a little biased in the matter.



  25. Patrick Quinn
    4:44 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Conditioning…you are already head and shoulders above where you were when you came to Ky…now break through with at least another year…”Catch Air”..get some “Ups”…you will be a top 10 when you go pro…you will be the example for big men in years to come…best of luck in your decision…cheers



  26. Marcus L. Owens
    4:47 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Does he really have “great” hands?



  27. Debbie Bolton
    4:50 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Dakari, thank you and the rest of the team for an amazing year. I wish you the very best in whatever decision you make.

  28. “Stay cuz I want #9!”
    #I’mselfish



  29. Butch Hudson
    5:01 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Daniel Orton went too early … look what happened



  30. brain
    5:08 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Got to stay in school another year. Everything will get better and you’ll be ready to proceed.



  31. Bulldawg
    5:12 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I’d remind him of his own words after he first committed to UK, he’s “coming to UK to win a national championship” point blank period. Or he could transfer to Colorodo State…



  32. David Adam
    5:26 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I would say….how much money does Randolph Morris have left in the bank??? Randolph Albert Morris (born January 2, 1986) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association.



  33. So close to 9
    5:41 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    See “Josh Harrellson” if he can improve his foot work and speed….



  34. CoachStoops
    5:46 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I would tell that boy to come back and be a hero. #WhyNot



  35. Bill
    6:15 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    We love ya Dak, come on back!



  36. SoCal Will
    6:23 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Dakari is a class act and a kid each of us wishes the best. I think he makes an NBA team and plays 12 – 15 minutes whether he is a late first or second round pick. I lean toward that being the same scenario facing him if he stays another year. Hopefully Cal’s GM info is spot on so that Dakari makes a decision that makes him happy. In many ways I think the Twins are facing the same questions.



  37. Rod
    7:10 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    None of our business I suppose but how will his families situation play into the situation.?



  38. Rod
    7:12 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Are they ok financially or do they need help?



  39. Yates
    7:43 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    Another year will give you time to grow a unibrow, which in turn will give you the skills to dominate college basketball.



  40. beth
    7:57 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I think I wanna be havin your baby. Come back, D.



  41. Carol
    8:03 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I’d say GO to the NBA. Get started on your development for your career.



  42. CopenhagenCat
    8:29 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I would say hi its your choice. But do you really think your ready? I mean look at Willie, He has improved by staying and its just going to help him more. So why not stay one more year, improve your free throws and defense, and lets get you quicker.



  43. klassact32
    8:30 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    The question that you should ask the players is really a silly one. Do they want to make hundreds of thousands of dollars for a year or two or do they want to PLAY in the NBA. If they actually want to play in the NBA then the decision is a very simple one, and this goes for all of the players still gaining information…. they stay in school and continue to play and improve their game.



  44. Bob
    10:44 pm April 21, 2014 Permalink

    I like this kid Johnson. I just do not think he is ready for the risk of the NBA .he has unfinished work on his game on both sides of the ball. I think where it’s one or two more years at kentucky this kid can be an monster inside and develope an 15/18 foot jump shoot which will make him one of the most dangerious big men in the NCAA and NBA. I think if he wants he could be an 1-3 pick in the next 1/2 years at Kentucky . I believe Johnson can become one of the top 5 big men in the NBA if he perfects his game .I like all the other players on this years team but i think Johnson and lee could be the keys to our 9th Title next year .Coach Cal needs to use his bench more in regular season because his bench carryed him threw the tournment. I would like to see an 11 man rotation with two five man teams and from them maybe and 3 different mix teams . This allows different looks and whats working and whats not an chance to win . They need an coach whom works with them 1.5 hours an day on free throws . We lost an Elite 8 with Wall and company and an Title this year because no one can hit an free throw . Coach Cal said himself sometime back that lady at the nursing home told him free throws wins games . He forgets he said they watch the same game over and over more than he does.Uconn beat us on the free throw line . Hard work on this where the team is shooting 65/68% will encrease the winning percentage greatly .Johnson could become Kentucky’s Bill Russel



  45. sportsfan
    6:18 am April 22, 2014 Permalink

    He should definitely go…he is to uncoordinated, injury might occur. He reminds me a lot of Greg odom but not as talented. Needs to Go….