120403NextCats.jpg
Apr 182013
 
Kentucky's McDonald's All-Americans, left to right, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, James Young and Julius Randle. Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins are also part of UK's eight-man recruiting class. Photo courtesy of McDonald's

Kentucky’s McDonald’s All-Americans, left to right, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, James Young and Julius Randle. Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins are also part of UK’s eight-man recruiting class.
Photo courtesy of McDonald’s

UK released a statement Thursday announcing the signings of 2013 recruits Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson and Dominique Hawkins. The three late commitments join the Harrison twins, James Young, Marcus Lee and Derek Willis in UK’s eight-man class.

John Calipari had comments on each of the new signees. Here they are:

Calipari on Randle …

“Julius is another hard-working player who is a great student and person along with being a dominator on the court. He has that will to win that the players I’ve had who have become special have all had. That motor will be important to our success next year. Julius has the skill set to be an inside-outside guy for us. He has the ability to put it on the floor and beat guys off the dribble, but he’s also got the toughness, size and ability to score against bigger defenders. At the end of the day, he’s a true leader whose personal drive is off the charts.”

Continue reading »

Share
Apr 062013
 
Dakari Johnson played in the McDonald's All-American Game before heading to Maryland for the NHSI. Photo courtesy of McDonald's

Dakari Johnson played in the McDonald’s Game before heading to Maryland for the NHSI.
Photo courtesy of McDonald’s

Dakari Johnson won a national championship for Montverde Academy on Saturday. Then he promised to do the same next season for Kentucky.

The UK commitment had 18 points, eight rebounds and helped Montverde erase a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter for a 67-65 victory over St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) in the championship game of the National High School Invitational in Bethesda, Md.

Johnson made his promise in a post-game interview with ESPN.

“I’m going to win a national championship at Kentucky next year,” he said.

Continue reading »

Share
Apr 042013
 

There’s no downtime for Dakari Johnson these days.

Less than 24 hours after playing in the McDonald’s All-American Game, the UK commitment will be back on national television Thursday as he leads Montverde Academy in the National High School Invitational.

Montverde is one of eight teams to compete in this week’s tournament to crown the “national champion” of high school basketball.

Another team to watch will be Prime Prep (Texas), which includes junior point guard Emmanuel Mudiay and sophomore forward Elijah Thomas. Mudiay is one of UK’s top targets for 2014, and Thomas has already received interest from the Kentucky staff.

Continue reading »

Share
Apr 022013
 
UK commitment Dakari Johnson, top left, and UNC signee Kennedy Meeks, top right, stretch out their teammates at McDonald's practice.  Photo courtesy of McDonald's

UK commitment Dakari Johnson, top left, and UNC signee Kennedy Meeks, top right, stretch out their teammates at McDonald’s practice.
Photo courtesy of McDonald’s

CHICAGO — John Calipari going to have a couple of animals in the post next season. At least, that’s the word from the McDonald’s All-Americans that have had to practice against Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson this week.

The East team workouts have been tough affairs, and Johnson and Randle have been right in the thick of things.

The two UK commitments have been most commonly matched up with North Carolina signee Kennedy Meeks, Indiana signee Noah Vonleh and Florida signee Chris Walker.

Continue reading »

Share
Apr 012013
 

CHICAGO — UK announced Monday that freshman center Willie Cauley-Stein would return to the school for a sophomore season.

That means the Cats won’t be lacking for big bodies in 2013-14. Cauley-Stein will join Dakari Johnson, who committed to Kentucky in January and is considered the No. 1 center in the class of 2013.

Johnson told the Herald-Leader on Sunday night that he would have no problem teaming up with his fellow 7-footer.

“If he comes back I can learn a lot from him,” Johnson said. “He’ll push me during practice. I think we complement each other well. He’s an athletic big. I’m not as athletic.”

Continue reading »

Share
Mar 262013
 
Emmanuel Mudiay

Mudiay

The finalized National High School Invitational tournament bracket was released Tuesday, and UK recruits Dakari Johnson and Emmanuel Mudiay will both be playing on ESPNU next week.

Mudiay will lead No. 3 seed Prime Prep (Texas) against Blanche Ely (Fla.) at noon on April 4. The 6-foot-3 point guard is considered one of the five best players in the class of 2014 and already has a scholarship offer from Kentucky, which is thought to be one of his top schools.

Johnson and No. 2-seeded Montverde Academy will play Oak Hill (Va.) at 4 p.m. on April 4. The 6-11 center is committed to UK for the class of 2013 and will be eligible to sign with the school on April 17.

Continue reading »

Share
Mar 202013
 

With the addition of Julius Randle, UK’s recruiting class of 2013 now consists of seven players — six of whom are McDonald’s All-Americans.

Here’s a closer look at the next wave of Wildcats:

UK’s recruiting class of 2013
Player Pos Ht Wt Hometown Rivals Scout ESPN 24/7
Aaron Harrison SG 6-5 205 Houston, Texas 4 4 7 3
Andrew Harrison PG 6-5 205 Houston, Texas 5 3 5 4
Dakari Johnson C 6-11 250 New York City 13 18 11 13
Marcus Lee F 6-9 200 Antioch, Calif. 18 21 18 9
Julius Randle PF 6-8 240 Plano, Texas 2 5 3 2
Derek Willis SF 6-9 200 Mt. Washington, Ky. 129 64
James Young G/F 6-6 200 Rochester, Mich. 10 10 6 11
Share
Mar 122013
 
UK commitment Dakari Johnson and Montverde Academy will play in next month's NHSI on ESPN. File photo: Scott McIntyre

UK commitment Dakari Johnson and Montverde Academy will play in next month’s NHSI on ESPN.
File photo: Scott McIntyre

ESPN announced the eight teams for next month’s National High School Invitational on Tuesday, and the field includes six of the top 10 squads in the country.

This year’s competitors will be No. 1 Findlay Prep (Nev.), No. 2 Montverde Academy (Fla.), No. 4 Prime Prep (Texas), No. 5 St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.), No. 8 La Lumiere (Ind.), No. 9 Blanche Ely (Fla.), No. 19 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) and No. 25 Montrose Christian (Md.).

The tournament will be held April 4-6 in Bethesda, Md. Game times and seeding information will be released at a later date. All games will be shown on ESPN networks.

Continue reading »

Share
Mar 122013
 
Huntington Prep forward Andrew Wiggins is one of six finalists for the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year Award. Photo: Matt Goins

Huntington Prep forward Andrew Wiggins is one of six finalists for the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year Award.
Photo: Matt Goins

Three future Kentucky Wildcats and two uncommitted UK recruits are among the six finalists for the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year award.

The list of finalists released Tuesday includes UK signees Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, UK commitment Dakari Johnson, uncommitted targets Andrew Wiggins and Aaron Gordon, and Duke commitment Jabari Parker.

UK women’s signee Linnae Harper is among six finalists for the girls’ award.

The winners will be announced March 18.

No UK player has ever won the award, which was first given to Shane Battier in 1997 and is named for legendary coach Morgan Wootten of  DeMatha High School in Maryland.

Past winners include Jay Williams (1999), LeBron James (2003), Dwight Howard (2004), Greg Oden (2006) and Shabazz Muhammad (2012). Duke players have won the award five of out of 16 times.

Continue reading »

Share

Weekend recap: Dakari Johnson visits Kentucky

 Posted by at 1:33 AM on February 25, 2013  5 Responses »
Feb 252013
 
UK commitment Dakari Johnson posed for a picture with ESPN analyst Jay Bilas during his official visit Saturday.

UK commitment Dakari Johnson posted a picture of himself with ESPN analyst Jay Bilas during his official visit to Lexington on Saturday.

Wrapping up the biggest storylines of the weekend …

UK commitment Dakari Johnson finally got to take his official visit to Lexington. The 7-foot senior was at Sayre — where he attended middle school — on Friday, took in the ESPN Gameday festivities on Saturday morning and returned to Rupp for UK’s big win over Missouri on Saturday night. Johnson sat directly behind the Wildcats bench during the game, cheering along with the rest of the crowd while wearing a UK sweatshirt and hat. He later tweeted a photo from inside the UK locker room with the message: “Trying to hang one next year.” Johnson, who committed in January, can sign with Kentucky on April 17.

Continue reading »

Share