6. Keon Johnson enters NBA Draft
Losing potential players or adding potential stars who could generate depth is one thing. However, when key, proven players leave, it’s always a bigger deal, even if it was always expected. Such is the case for Keon Johnson. A five-star in Tennessee basketball’s 2020 class, Johnson was always expected to be one-and-done. However, his announcement still hurt the Vols.
Johnson made his decision to declare for the NBA Draft on April 7. In his one year with the Vols, the 6’5″ 186-pound combo guard averaged over 11 points a game. What stood out, though, was his play on defense, as he averaged a steal and three and a half rebounds a game.
As a true combo guard, Johnson was an athletic defender who could always generate the fast-break. His offensive efficiency was a question, but had he stayed with Barnes another year, that likely could have developed into something lethal as well. His departure still makes sense.
Of all the NBA Draft departures, though, Johnson’s loss is the least impactful. UT has another combo guard who was once a five-star coming back, which we’ll get to, and they have more help in the backcourt in general. As a result, Johnson’s departure is one of the most impactful things to happen to the Vols, but there are other departures that were bigger.