Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics
The journey from Kentucky to the NBA for Dakari Johnson has been far different than most former Wildcats, but the 7-0 center continued to pursue his dream. That dream has now become a reality as Thunder beat reporter Brett Dawson reported that Johnson signed a guaranteed two-year deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.
Following the Wildcats pursuit of perfection in 2015, Johnson declared for the NBA draft after two seasons in Lexington, however, the D-League became his home.
Johnson spent the last two seasons playing for the Thunders affiliate the OKC Blue. Over those two seasons, Johnson posted some impressive numbers on his way to becoming a dominant force in the D-League (Now called G-League). This past season, Johnson averaged 18.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.2 blocks. Altogether, through 99 career games Johnson has averaged 15.4 points and 8.0 rebounds, while shooting 55% from the floor.
During his two seasons with the Blue, he was named a D-League All-Rookie, along with being a D-League All-Star and first-team selection last season.
Two years ago, fans believed Johnson could have used another season under John Calipari before jumping to the NBA. However, Johnson faced the uphill climb to the NBA, which consumes so many players that take the same route. Thankfully, his plan worked out and he has a guaranteed contract to show for all the hard work and dedication.
Johnson will not be alone when he arrives in OKC. He will be joining two former Wildcats Enes Kanter and newly signed free agent Patrick Patterson.
Congrats, Dakari! Continue to make the Big Blue Nation proud!