By LARRY VAUGHT
Oak Hill Academy coach Steve Smith was disappointed that Kentucky fans at the Marshall County Hoopfest Friday didn’t get to see the “real” Keldon Johnson.
Never mind that the Kentucky signee had 16 points, seven rebounds, two steals and one assist in 24 minutes in an 84-63 victory over Hamilton Heights (Tenn.).
“He is big and strong. He can muscle the ball inside. He is better on the perimeter than he played today,” Smith, a Kentucky native, said. “I know Kentucky fans wanted to see him and they saw him score inside a lot but I wanted them to see his full game.”
Johnson was 6-for-17 from the field, including 1-for-3 from 3-point range. He’s been working to improve his outside shot — to go along with the athletic ways he scores inside — and was disappointed he did not shoot better.
“I would say this game was one of my more complete games of the season. Actually, I would say pretty average, though, because there were things I could have improved on and more shots I could have hit and should have made,” Johnson said. “I just have to keep working and doing what I have to do to get the next level.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari likely will be at Marshall County Saturday night when Oak Hill plays Tennessee Prep at 8:15 p.m. CST. However, Johnson still had plenty of UK fans wanting to see him play Friday. He signed autographs and posed for pictures for about 20 minutes after the game.
“It was an experience, once in a lifetime for a high school player. I really enjoyed it. It was an awesome experience,” he said. I know a lot of fans even talked to me during warmups and throughout the game.”