LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky men’s basketball team added a versatile scorer with length and an ability to make an immediate impact with the signing of reclassified guard Johnny Juzang.
The 6-foot-7 guard out of Tarzana, California, signed a national letter of intent with UK on Friday.
Juzang, originally a part of the 2020 class, announced in April he was reclassifying to 2019. His addition marks the sixth of Kentucky’s highly rated 2019 recruiting class and the seventh newcomer overall (the Wildcats have also added graduate transfer Nate Sestina from Bucknell).
“Johnny can really score the basketball,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “You’re talking about a kid who has a college-ready body, which is why I was in full support of him reclassifying. When he told us he was doing it, I said let’s do this. He can really shoot the basketball and has a great skill set, but what I love about him is his will to win, his fight and competitiveness. He likes to play physical and can shoot over the top of defenders, plus he’s a very good rebounder for his age. He’s a smart player who is really going to make us a different team next year.”
Kentucky’s 2019 class, which was already considered one of the best in the country, is all but assured of ranking in the top three nationally yet again with the addition of Juzang. It would be the 11th straight season with a top-three class under Calipari.
Juzang joins Kahlil Whitney, Keion Brooks and walk-on Brennan Canada in the spring freshman signing class. Tyrese Maxey and Dontaie Allen signed in the fall. UK also added Sestina this spring.
Juzang’s specialty is his ability to put the ball in the basket. At 6-7, 215 pounds, he has elite size at the guard position but plays with a physicality and fearlessness that should align well with Calipari’s offensive approach. He’s a long-range shooter who can also attack off the bounce to create for himself as well as his teammates.
“I want to be in an environment that challenges me, but also one that I can showcase my skill, fight and toughness,” Juzang said of committing to Kentucky. “The opportunity to play for a Hall of Fame coach and shine on the biggest stage in college basketball in front of the greatest fans in the world is somewhat of a dream. I can’t wait to get started.”
At the Harvard-Westlake School – considered one of the best academic schools in the country – Juzang averaged 23.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game this past season, when he was classified as a junior.
Upon his reclassification, ESPN moved Juzang to the No. 29 overall player in the class of 2019. 247Sports lists him at No. 30 and Rivals rates him at No. 34. He’s a consensus four-star prospect.
Juzang’s brother, Christian Juzang, has appeared in 72 games at Harvard and averaged 8.0 points last season.
With his addition, Kentucky has signed 53 top-50 recruits, 44 top-25 players and 24 top-10 players (according to Rivals) in Calipari’s 11 recruiting classes at Kentucky.
In every season in the Calipari era, the Wildcats have signed a top-three recruiting class according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, which tallies major recruiting rankings and plugs them into a formula to calculate a consensus ranking.
The spring signing period began April 17 and lasts through May 15.