Dakari Naeem Johnson (born September 22, 1995) is an American professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the University of Kentucky .

High school career

Johnson attended St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey . During the 2010–11 school year, once coach Kevin Boyle left for Montverde Academy, Johnson followed his coach, where he had to sit out the 2011–12 season due to the transfer. Because of his excellent grades, Johnson decided to reclassify, thus making the 2012–13 season his final and senior season at the high school level. He ended up averaging 17.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game as a senior. [2] He subsequently earned selection to the 2013 McDonald's All-American Boys Game and Jordan Brand Classic .

Considered a five-star recruit by ESPN.com , Johnson was ranked as the No. 2 center in the nation in 2013. [3]

College career

As a freshman at Kentucky in 2013–14, Johnson spent the season backing up teammate Julius Randle and averaged 5.2 points and 3.9 rebounds in 39 games. As a sophomore the following season, he again played back-up, this time to freshman big man Karl-Anthony Towns and junior Willie Cauley-Stein . He again appeared in 39 games in 2014–15 and averaged slightly higher numbers with 6.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. [5]

On April 9, 2015, Johnson declared for the NBA draft , forgoing his final two years of college eligibility. He was joined alongside fellow Kentucky teammates in Aaron Harrison , Andrew Harrison , Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker . [6]

Professional career

Oklahoma City Blue (2015–2017)

On June 25, 2015, Johnson was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 48th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft . [7] He later joined the Thunder for the 2015 NBA Summer League where he averaged 7.6 points and 8.6 rebounds in five games. [8] On November 3, 2015, he was acquired by the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League , the affiliate team of the Thunder. [13] On November 14, he made his professional debut in a 110–104 loss to the Austin Spurs , recording 16 points, nine rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 33 minutes. [14] Johnson appeared in all 50 games for the Blue in 2015–16, averaging 12.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. [2] He subsequently earned NBA D-League All-Rookie Team honors. [2]

Johnson returned to the Blue for the 2016–17 season, and on February 6, 2017, he was named in the Western Conference All-Star team for the 2017 NBA D-League All-Star Game. [2]

Oklahoma City Thunder (2017–present)

On July 22, 2017, Johnson signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder . [2] He scored four points in his NBA debut on October 19, 2017 in the Thunder's 105–84 win over the New York Knicks . [2]