By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky’s fabulous 2013 recruiting class got even better Saturday night when Dakari Johnson, the top-ranked center in the 2013 class, gave his verbal commitment to the Wildcats. He’s the fifth top 20 recruit in Kentucky’s 2013 class.
“They were just honest people from the get-go,” Johnson said during his announcement on ESPN. “They told me that this wasn’t the place to come if I were selfish, if I wanted the ball all the time or if I didn’t want to work hard. I want to work hard, I want to get pushed. I want that pressure on me because that makes me a better player.”
The 6-10, 250-pound Johnson, who briefly played at Sayre High School in Lexington, is a solid scorer inside who calls himself a “hard worker” on the court.
“A presence in the post on the defensive end and the offensive end. I’m a great teammate, too. … I’m a good person on and off the court,” Johnson, a consensus top 15 recruit, said when asked to describe himself.Kentucky coach John Calipari now has commitments from Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, James Young,Marcus Lee and Derek Willis (according to Rivals.com). All but Willis are top 20 recruits and the Harrisons and Young are all top 10.And don’t forget that Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle, the top two ranked players in the 2013 class, still are high on UK.
Johnson said he wasn’t worried about current UK centers Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein do about the NBA draft after this season.
“I talked to Coach Cal and it wouldn’t matter to me,” Johnson told SportsNet New York last week. “Even if they stayed, they would push me harder in practice and I would just be better developed going against those guys every day.”
Johnson played one year with former UK standout Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as a freshman at St. Patrick High in New Jersey, and the two players still talk. He also considers Young a “good friend” who has been encouraging him to commit to UK.