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Dakari Johnson (photo credit: USA Basketball)
Dakari Johnson (photo credit: USA Basketball)

Kentucky adds top center Dakari Johnson to No. 1 class

The success on college basketball’s recruiting trail of the Kentucky Wildcats is bordering on ridiculous, in terms of its success. Kentucky added the top center in the nation, 7′-0″ Dakari Johnson of Montverde Academy (FL), on Saturday, as Johnson made a verbal commitment on ESPN. For the last several years, Kentucky has held the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, and 2013 will now be no different, as they were previously ranked No. 1 and now seem to have yet another unsurpassable group, continuing a multi-year streak.

Johnson is a recent reclassification from the 2014 class to the 2013 class, and ranks as the No. 9 prospect in the country. The other members of Kentucky’s class includes No. 2 point guard Andrew Harrison, No. 4 shooting guard Aaron Harrison, No. 7 small forward James Young, and No. 16 power forward Marcus Lee. In-state forward Derek Willis is also a member of the class.

After a strong start to high school at St. Patrick (NJ) as a freshman, Johnson followed coach Kevin Boyle to Montverde Academy, where he was required to sit out as a sophomore. Montverde Academy is currently undefeated, and Johnson is a big reason why. was able to extensively evaluate Johnson during USA Basketball’s 17U trials, a squad that Johnson eventually made. In breaking down the roster of the team, we wrote:

There isn’t much mystery to Johnson, as he flat out rebounds and defends. In using his long arms and significant height, Johnson is a big man that seems to know what he should be about. His offensive game was largely comprised of put-backs, finishes near the hoop and short baseline jumpers. Still, an emerging true center like Johnson is going to be hard to leave off the final roster. Perhaps the most important fact about Johnson is that he sat out the high school season, following a transfer from New Jersey. He used that time to trim up his frame, as well as to improve his mobility and fluidity.

While it remains to be seen which members of the current roster at Kentucky are bound for the pros, the program is in great shape with yet another unbelievable talent infusion. While Johnson selected Kentucky over the Syracuse Orange and Georgetown Hoyas, the reality is that Kentucky was a heavy favorite to land Johnson the moment he reclassified.

About K.J. Hassenstab

K.J. Hassenstab is the publisher of the College Basketball Newcomers Guide book and He founded in 2009, and has contributed to SlamOnline, Dime Magazine's, and, along with other publications in the past. Hassenstab has covered grassroots, high school and basketball recruiting for over a decade. Follow on Twitter, @Hoopniks.

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