Kevin Johnson always wanted to be a Bearcat. Throughout his early high school years, he went about the task of getting Mick Cronin and his staff to take notice. After Johnson won the first of his two Ohio Division III Player of the Year awards, he got the attention from the UC staff he so desired.
So there he was, on his 17th birthday no less, making his pledge to play for the Bearcats and Coach Cronin before the start of his senior season at Summit Country Day High School. While his team fell short of defending its state championship, it was no fault of Johnson as he averaged 18.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Making it more difficult was the knowledge he was heading to UC thus putting a target on his back the entire season.
Depending on your point of view, it will be a good and bad scenario for Johnson during his freshman year. He's obviously parked behind Sean Kilpatrick at shooting guard, so his court time is already going to be limited. He's also likely behind Jeremiah Davis III (unless they switch him back to PG), meaning he's going to have to really impress in practice to see game time. Now the positive in all of this is he will get the opportunity to learn from one of the best and hardest working Bearcats of all time in Kilpatrick, who eats, drinks, and sleeps basketball. Johnson is a bright kid from all indications so hopefully he'll take the chance and really soak up everything Kilpatrick does and says.
The state of the UC basketball program right now is on such solid footing that, much like Troy Caupain, Kevin Johnson is not going to feel the pressure of the entire university and city on his shoulders to produce immediately. In fact, barring an injury to Kilpatrick it wouldn't shock me at all if Kevin suddenly came down with a Jeremiah Davis-like wrist injury that would force him to redshirt and add some bulk to that 185 pound (high school weight) frame. I'm not saying it's going to happen because he hopefully comes out and opens some eyes right away. The more weapons UC has the better.
Here's hoping Johnson can continue his rise during his time at UC and can replicate the success he's had not only in high school, on the AAU circuit, and even in winning the MVP of the Ohio-Kentucky All-Star game held earlier this spring at Thomas More College.