Former Louisville guard David Johnson made it official on Wednesday, declaring for the 2021 NBA draft and forgoing his two years of remaining NCAA eligibility.
— David johnson ひ (@davidjohnson13) April 14, 2021
Johnson, a Louisville native, joined the Cards as a consensus 4-star recruit in the class of 2019. He battled injuries his freshman season before breaking out over the last few weeks of conference play. As a sophomore in 2020-21, Johnson earned All-ACC Honorable Mention honors while averaging 12.6 points, 3.2 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game.
Being a hometown kid with a high recruiting ranking coming in to play for your hometown school can bring a lot of pressure. David Johnson handled it with ease. He played very well and had some superstar moments in a Cards jersey. He will hopefully, and likely, impress at the combine and will be a very good get for any NBA team. A 6’5 guard that can dribble, drive, shoot well from the arc, and pass with the best of them is not something that’s common.
With the loss of Johnson, the Louisville staff now has one open scholarship for the 2021-2022 season that can be filled via the transfer market. Barring another transfer out of the program, Carlik Jones is the only player who has still yet to finalize his plans for next season. If Jones decides to return to school for a 6th year, his scholarship will not count against the 13-player limit.
We at CSZ congratulate David Johnson on his 2 wonderful seasons here and look forward to draft night to see where he ends up. He will likely have a following akin to former Card Donovan Mitchell. It’ll be really awesome to not only have another Card in the NBA with Donovan, Gorgui, and Trez, but it’s a little extra nice because he’s a son of the Ville.
To read more about David Johnson’s decision, and some comments from Coach Chris Mack about David, please see UofL’s press release below:
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT:
Louisville’s David Johnson Will Enter NBA Draft, Forego Collegiate Eligibility
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville guard David Johnson will enter his name for consideration in the 2021 NBA Draft and forego his remaining collegiate eligibility, departing after two seasons with the Cardinals.
“First, I’d like to thank God for putting me in this position I’m in today. Without Him, this wouldn’t be possible,” said Johnson. “To my Family, teammates, friends, and coaches, thank you for the endless support from the day I started this journey 15 years ago. To the University of Louisville, thank you for taking me in with open arms and trusting my abilities as a young man. To the city of Louisville, the love, support, and encouragement you’ve given has been imperative to my growth as “The Hometown Kid!” I thank you all from every word you’ve shared and everything you’ve done, I will always hold dear to my heart while showing appreciation to you.
“It has been a dream of mine to play in the NBA since I could remember and now it’s time to take the next step to get there. My family and I value your continued prayers, love, and support as I forego my remaining years of college eligibility and enter the 2021 NBA Draft!”
“Two years ago, I had David in my office a couple months after his shoulder surgery,” said UofL Head Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Mack. “It was September of his freshman year and I asked him what he was thinking in terms of playing. He looked at me and said, ‘Coach, I’m going to be here two years and then head to the NBA.’ I said ‘that’s great DJ, but I mean when do you think you’ll be healthy enough to return?’ We’ve joked about that conversation since, but he sure made good on that promise.
“DJ is a terrific player and incredible representative of the University of Louisville. I’m going to miss coaching him, but I’m happy as heck for him and his family. He’s a first-round talent and a first-class kid, and he’ll always be a Cardinal.”
A 6-5 sophomore from Louisville, Johnson was the only player in the ACC to rank among the top 25 in both rebounding and assists, averaging 12.6 points, 3.2 assists (15th in the ACC) and 5.8 rebounds (21st). The 2021 All-ACC honorable mention selection scored 17 or more points in seven games, reaching double figures on 12 occasions this season (18 career).
Honored on the 2021 All-ACC Academic team, Johnson scored a career-high 24 points against Georgia Tech while grabbing 10 rebounds in one of his three double-doubles of the season. He set career highs in three-pointers made (6) and attempted (11), making one more three-pointer in the game than he hit during the entire 2019-20 season (5-of-23).
Johnson nearly doubled his scoring and rebounding averages from a year ago. In his 19 games, Johnson had more than six times his three-point production from a year ago, burying a team-high 32-of-83 threes in his sophomore season (.386).
Johnson was honored as co-MVP with Carlik Jones in the Cardinals’ victory over Kentucky by the Bluegrass Sports Commission when he totaled 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists against the Wildcats while connecting on 3-of-4 three-pointers and playing the entire 40 minutes. He was named ACC Player of the Week for games Dec. 21-27 and earned recognition on the 2020 Wade Houston Tipoff Classic All-Tournament team.
Johnson helped Louisville achieve a 13-7 record in a pandemic-shortened season as the Cardinals finished seventh in the ACC with one of the least experienced teams in the nation.