Dakari Johnson “learned a lot” during his first year with Thunder

Dakari Johnson (Vicky Graff Photo)

Here’s what former Kentucky player Dakari Johnson said after spending his first full season in the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder after two years in the developmental league.

Q. What was it like after two years kind of working your way here to get a full season up here?
DAKARI JOHNSON: It was a good opportunity. You know, I learned a lot. We had a lot of veterans on our team, so I felt like this year it was a great opportunity for me to learn and just watch. Whenever I was called upon, just to produce.

Q. How did it compare to — I imagine like two years in the D-League, like expectations are festering and building up, and I imagine there’s some sort of anxiety or anxiousness there, so how did it compare to those expectations?
DAKARI JOHNSON: It was good. You know, I really enjoyed myself just being around it every day and just learning from the best and having really good vets around me. It definitely lived up to my expectations.

Q. Do you have any summer plans, things you plan on working on, focusing on?
DAKARI JOHNSON: Yeah, just working on everything, continuing to work on my body, continuing to work on my foot speed, and also just getting on the court and just working on everything.

Q. Where are you going to be working out?
DAKARI JOHNSON: I’m going to be here for the beginning of the summer and then go down to Atlanta and work out with my guys down there.

Q. Will you play Summer League?
DAKARI JOHNSON: I’m not for sure yet, but I think I will.

Q. What was it like spending more time around Nick Collison?
DAKARI JOHNSON: It was great. You know, Nick was my vet. He did extra work with me, whether it be cycling class, hot yoga, extra three on three. He was there all the way. It was great to have him, you know, just keep me locked in throughout the whole year.

Q. You talked when you were working in the D-League and you were up here in practices or workouts about Steven and some of the things Steven pointed out to you. Did that relationship expand being on the roster this year?
DAKARI JOHNSON: Yeah, definitely. It definitely was hands on. He was always that ear for me. Even when I wasn’t playing, he would always ask me questions and stuff like that. He really kept me engaged throughout the whole year, too.

Q. How intense do those three on three games get?
DAKARI JOHNSON: It gets real intense. Nick is a competitor, and I’m a competitor. Even the coaches, they’ll join in. They always try to talk a little bit, so it got real intense.

Q. So you’re the reason that he got a black eye earlier this year?
DAKARI JOHNSON: No, I’m not the reason.

Q. What do you remember about the Clippers game from earlier this year?
DAKARI JOHNSON: I remember a lot. That was my first start, real meaningful minutes, and it was just a great opportunity for me just to go out there and compete and help the team.

Q. You’ve talked a lot about like how you’ve worked on your body, changing that a lot. Is that something that you’re still concentrating on, that you still have to work on?
DAKARI JOHNSON: Yeah, most definitely. I’m always going to have to improve with that, so you know, just taking that next step this summer and keep on working and keep on improving it.

Q. Do you work on explosion and that kind of stuff, getting off the floor faster, that sort of thing?
DAKARI JOHNSON: Yeah, most definitely. I’ll be in the weight room with the weight coaches this summer. That’s something that is going to take time, but I’m going to really work on it this summer.

Q. In players in particular you’re going to be working out with?
DAKARI JOHNSON: Nobody in particular. I’ll be around here for the beginning of the summer, and then when I go to Atlanta, a lot of pros go out there, and they play open gym, so I’ll be around some.

1 comment

  1. Dakari never got a fair shake a UK. Cal let his guards take all of the shots and rarely made a post pass. Dakari would have to come out to the top of the key just to get a pass. I don’t know why Cal does that but he never has made the post the center of his offense, not even when Davis was here. It cost KY at least 2 championships, possibly 4.

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