Whatever Hagans said to Johnson, it worked

Keldon Johnson (Vicky Graff Photo)


After not scoring in Kentucky’s win at Georgia, Keldon Johnson failed to score in the first seven minutes at Auburn Saturday.

Teammates insisted they didn’t doubt his ability going into the game, but fellow freshman Ashton Hagans had to get into Johnson early in the game when he wasn’t looking for a pass from Hagans and it resulted in a UK turnover. Kentucky coach John Calipari took Johnson out after the play and the few choice words from Hagans.

“He just told me to ‘wake up, man.’ Like ‘it’s not acceptable.’ If we want to be the team we want to be, I got to wake up. He said, ‘We need you to play,’” Johnson said after he finished the 82-80 UK win with 20 points.

I am not exactly sure that is what Hagans said to Johnson — and I will just leave it at that — but the message obviously hit home with Johnson because he was sensational the final 30 minutes.

“I did it for my teammates. They have my back and I have there’s,” Johnson said. “And I just went out and played.

“I know he (Hagans) wants what’s best for me, and we might argue sometimes on the court, but I know about my teammates and that they want what is best for me.”

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