Former Park View HS star Keldon Johnson has ascended quickly with the San Antonio Spurs in the National Basketball Association and is truly living the dream.
As a rookie last season, Johnson played primarily with the Austin Spurs in the G-League before being promoted to San Antonio midway through the season. He proved he was there to play in the developmental league, averaging 20.3 PPG with 5.6 RPG and 2.4 APG with Austin before the promotion.
When the Spurs resumed play in the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Coach Gregg Popovich decided to take a look at some of his younger players and Johnson made the most of his time, averaging 14.1 PPG and 5 RPG in 22 minutes per night.
One of his best performances was a 24 point, 11 rebound outing in a win over the Houston Rockets.
He was lauded by the Spurs coaching staff for his energy and hustle.
“For me, it was an opportunity and a challenge ahead,” Johnson said of his time in the NBA Bubble. “Just take advantage of the opportunity.”
Coach Popovich certainly took notice.
“That’s what he does. He’s a high-energy guy. Very physical. Very competitive. Very coachable. He’s just a winner,” the veteran coach said.
This year, Johnson was named a starter in the season opener and is off to a great start to his second season in the league with the Spurs.
Johnson scored 16 points in a season-opening win over Memphis with five rebounds and three assists and then scored 12 points with five rebounds in the Spurs’ 119-114 win over the Toronto Raptors.
Johnson posted a double-double in his next start, a 98-95 loss to New Orleans, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds with five assists.
The local star scored seven points with three assists and three rebounds in a Spurs loss to the Los Angeles Lakers last Wednesday night but recorded a highlight dunk on a drive by LeBron James in the contest.
The two teams met again on Friday evening and Johnson got off to a great start hitting two long balls and scoring eight points in the first quarter against the Lakers.
He tallied 12 points and five rebounds in the first half and finished with a career-high 26 points and 10 rebounds in 35 minutes of action against the NBA champions.
It was quite a performance!
Johnson led the Spurs once again on Sunday with 22 points, six rebounds and two assists in a 130-109 loss to the Utah Jazz.
Jesus Gomez with SB Nation said Johnson has been the surprise of the early going for the Spurs.
“Keldon Johnson has been the most pleasant surprise of the season for the Spurs,” he wrote. “The second year player took over the power forward spot in Gregg Popovich’s small starting lineup and after three games is averaging 14 points, eight rebounds and two assists in 30 minutes a night while playing good defense. There’s a lot to like about Johnson’s start to the season but one aspect in particular is captivating, especially for a player his age. A lot of the good he’s done on offense derives from understanding the value of attacking the basket without hesitation at the first glimpse of an opportunity.”
This young man is taking advantage of his opportunities and his family and friends in Southside Virginia could not be prouder!