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2020 No. 3 prospect Jalen Johnson says Kentucky is his “dream school,” may decide soon

Has John Calipari found his star wing prospect for the class of 2020? Judging by the comments of one of the best in the nation, it certainly sounds like he has a shot.

With the Nike EYBL circuit officially in full swing, 2020 five-star forward and consensus top-three prospect Jalen Johnson turned heads this afternoon by telling reporters that Kentucky was his “dream school” as a kid.

“I really like Kentucky a lot, that’s been my dream school growing up,” Johnson said. “I liked watching John Wall when he was there, and that’s kind of when it started. I just had more interest from there throughout the years.”

He added that he was also a big fan of Florida growing up, but the Cats and the Gators were definitely his top-two childhood favorites.

“I just love (Kentucky), I don’t really know why,” he said. “They were just my dream school, them and Florida. I just loved watching those two schools play and seeing the success they had.”

So what was it about Kentucky that made them so desirable growing up? Why did he dream of suiting up in blue and white as a kid?

“From a player standpoint, I think it’s John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Anthony Davis,” Johnson said. “Just seeing how successful they are in the NBA, I think that’s a huge factor for recruits. … Calipari’s player development, it’s like no other. Seeing how he’s turned players into future Hall of Famers, it’s crazy.”

Johnson, a 6-foot-8 small forward out of Glendale, Wisconsin, has visited Lexington for Big Blue Madness each of the past two seasons.

And according to the 2020 No. 3 prospect, they were experiences “like no other.”

“It’s crazy there, it’s like no other,” he said. “The fans are crazy there, extremely loyal. They want what’s best for their players. I just wanted to witness it again, experience it again because it was so crazy. I was a little shy my first time going, so being able to socialize with the players, hang out with them, I was able to get a different vibe with it.”

In fact, Johnson says he’s going to try to make the trip for Big Blue Madness for his third consecutive year.

“Yeah, we’re gonna see,” he said with a smile. “We’re gonna see.”

In his mind, if Kentucky is going to go all-out in recruiting him, he’s going to return the favor.

“Coach Cal, him coming to my school three times this year,” Johnson said. “It just shows that I’m a priority for him and they really want me. It really means a lot.”

In terms of overall fit and player comparisons the Kentucky coaching staff has for the versatile 6-foot-8 wing, Johnson said he really doesn’t have many because they feel he is so unique.

According to the Wisconsin native, Calipari is planning on building the offense around him if he does end up in Lexington next fall.

“They don’t really compare me to anyone, because they say I’m not really like anyone (they’ve seen before),” Johnson said. “Maybe like a Penny Hardaway, the way I can play-make and stuff. They just said they’d be able to adjust the offense to me, because they adjust to their players they have every year.

Outside of Kentucky, Duke has been considered another favorite in his recruitment. In fact, Jerry Meyer of 247 Sports submitted a Crystal Ball pick in favor of the Blue Devils back in September.

“I like Duke a lot, as well,” he said. “Same as most of the schools that are recruiting me. … Duke kind of has a similar pitch to Kentucky, hearing from legendary coaches like Coach K himself, telling me straight to my face that he wants me and he wants the opportunity to coach me, it’s special.

Back in October, Johnson cut his list of schools to 15, with Arizona, DePaul, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, LSU, Marquette, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio State, UCLA and Wisconsin all making the cut.

Now, he’s hoping to take that down even further as soon as next week.

“I’m going to try to cut it down to eight or ten soon, within the next week or so,” he said. “I’m gonna have to sit down with my family, but it’s definitely going to be cut (soon).”

So when might a decision come for the consensus No. 3 prospect in the nation? He has been thinking about pulling the trigger at Peach Jam in mid-July, but if not, it’ll absolutely come before his senior season begins.

“I was thinking Peach Jam, but it just depends on when I get that feeling,” Johnson said. “I just want to go into my senior year knowing where I’m going to go, get the weight off my shoulders.”

The biggest factor in his recruitment will come down to comfort and fit. If he feels he can have solid chemistry with the coaching staff and some of the potential players that may join him in the class of 2020, he’ll know that’s where he needs to be.

“Strong coaching staff, the trust they have in me,” he said. “I just want to feel like I’m at home. I want to have a strong relationship with the players, just want to feel comfortable.”

Check out his ridiculous junior-year highlight tape below:


Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

24 Comments for 2020 No. 3 prospect Jalen Johnson says Kentucky is his “dream school,” may decide soon

  1. herm89
    3:42 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    Get in here

  2. michaelb
    3:44 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    Cant wait to hear the hyperbolic negative comments on this thread.

  3. Smyrna_Cat
    3:50 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    Awesome read. Sounds like an awesome player. Fingers crossed.

  4. Cletis75
    3:50 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    This is the recruit I want most from 2020. Seems to be a really complete player with tha ability to do special things with the right guidance. He could definitely be the centerpiece of a championship team.

  5. Headhurts
    3:51 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    Dream school? Last 2 players to say that went elsewhere.

    • nocode96
      5:20 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink


    • Big Sexy
      12:40 am April 28, 2019 Permalink

      Got a feeling you won’t get an answer.

    • jsuge20
      9:12 am April 28, 2019 Permalink

      the last two players that said that wasnt even on UK’s radar..

  6. Cokely53
    3:57 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    My sources says this kid is a lock to Kentucky. Coach K is washed up after missing the final four this year. Cal owns him again.

  7. CatfaninCinci
    4:14 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    The kid is an undeniable talent. And I’m betting he can do that kind of stuff against comparable talent too…

    That said, he was balling on a LOT of 5’11” white boys in the video. I don’t think he played against anyone his size. The part where he was jawing with that 6 foot kid, and the little guy jawed back made me laugh.

    • A_Blue_Wildcat
      4:42 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

      People said the same thing when Zion was balling out on 5’11 white boys in his videos. Rankings are determined by AAU more than anything, watch the aau tape not the high school tape.

  8. ScottGreene22
    5:08 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    Come on down KID help us win number 10!!!

  9. nocode96
    5:21 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    BuT cAl cAN’t gEt tOp 5 TaLEnT!!!!

    • mashburnfan1
      7:37 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

      He is not here yet, in fact have a long time to go. And Cal still gets talent, but he is still a bad in game coach, that is the problem.

  10. Carcrook
    5:56 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    If he commits to us early, I’m sure he’ll fall from #3 to #20! lol

  11. BlueAce
    6:34 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    I love the fact that this year will be his third time coming to Big Blue Madness. Hopefully we can pull him away from that rat who coaches that other blue and white team.

  12. RAGE
    6:45 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    Do any of u guys know of any other videos of this kid… that being said he looks like he has a nice feel for the game and nice form on his shot…. plus I like a player that talks and he shows no back down… hope he commits

  13. shelby
    8:53 pm April 27, 2019 Permalink

    I really like the looks of his game; Cal will make this kid a top 3 pick! Maybe #1 overall.

  14. imabucket
    1:39 am April 28, 2019 Permalink

    Mark my words. 2020 will be the best draft class we’ve had since John wall and Demarcus cousins . Will be a completely different type of team , But as far as rankings . Cal is getting to it . Also , this is a very talented class of kids . May Even get a good Kentucky kid to throw in the mix . I say this because I feel Cal will turn these underrated players this year into nba draft picks and also I just feel duke, North Carolina, and Kansas will not have very much turnover this next year . Duke will be in top 25 but I’m thinking they underperform this year . Just a guesstimation but I feel Cal has some swag and has a chip on his shoulder . And then Hampton will stay in 2020 and we’ll have him along with a junior quickly who is going to be the bomb . At least I hope . Quickly could very well develop a little faster and go before Ashton . Anyone have any critique or comments on this ? What y’all think ?

    • imabucket
      2:18 am April 28, 2019 Permalink

      Also I wanna say this along with previous message , because I feelc rj Hampton will stay in 202o on the count of only team really fit for him in 2019 is Memphis and I feel he’s going to want to see how they do with wiseman and Jeffries and I don’t see wiseman even being a top five pick. which Also duke hasn’t been developing big men at all so I’d say Vernon Carey will turn into a lesson for other big men which would steer them to Kentucky . I can not wait . Whitney, maxey, Hagans Or quickly , Montgomery , and nick richards will all be gone next y mean so that’ll give us a nice starting five of five McDonalds all Americans

  15. UKCatAttack
    7:45 am April 28, 2019 Permalink

    Considering he is planning on picking in July and told us he’d like to attend BBM in October I think that pretty much tells us what he’s planning to do right now. But he is 17/18 years old so who knows? But I like our chances with this kid!

  16. BackinBlue
    11:06 am April 28, 2019 Permalink


  17. michaelb
    1:15 pm April 28, 2019 Permalink

    I live these Wisconsin studs, the weather doesn’t scare them . Lex ky weather is an improvement from Wisconsin somehow lol. Remember when t-pain rhymed ‘mansion’ with ‘Wisconsin’ ? Jw lol