Everybody who followed Tennessee basketball last year knew about Keon Johnson’s explosive athleticism. He wasn’t the Vols’ best offensive player by any means, but he certainly provided the best highlights for the viewing public.
Now, after a year on Rocky Top, NBA scouts are starting to see the same thing. At the draft combine, which has been going on since Monday, Johnson set a vertical jump record of 48 inches on Wednesday, shattering the old record by two and a half inches.
Before Johnson, the person who held that record was Kenny Gregory, who came out in 2001 from the Kansas Jayhawks. Gregory ended up going undrafted, but Johnson is one of two Tennessee basketball players expected to be taken in the first round. Here’s a look at him setting the record.
A vertical like that explains why Johnson was so fun to watch in college. He provided numerous highlights and had some incredible dunks with the Vols, most notably this one in their 89-81 win over the Georgia Bulldogs.
Obviously, setting that record is a great accomplishment. The last UT player in the NBA Draft to have that type of vertical was probably Marcus Haislip back in 2002. At 6’5″, Johnson’s vertical combined with his 6’7″ wingspan make him a very desirable prospect now.
Of course, there are still some issues with his game, including his ability to shoot the ball and score from anywhere on the court. He’s great in transition, but offensive efficiency in the halfcourt game is what will make him a complete player.
The NBA Draft combine will last through June 27 and also includes former Vols Jaden Springer and Yves Pons. Springer, like Johnson, was a one-and-done five-star freshman guard, but he is being targeted more for his offensive abilities. Pons is a 6’6″ defensive specialist who stayed with Tennessee basketball for four years. Like Johnson, his athleticism is a selling point.