Louisville guard David Johnson has declared himself eligible for the 2021 NBA Draft, and is not leaving the door open for a potential return to college.
“First, I’d like to thank God for putting me in this position I’m in today. Without Him, this wouldn’t be possible,” Johnson said in a statement. ”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!”
As a sophomore in 2020-21, 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). Though his numbers dipped towards the end of the season, Johnson was still an honorable mention All-ACC selection.
“Two years ago, I had David in my office a couple months after his shoulder surgery,” said Louisville head 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.”
Johnson’s expected departure means that Louisville now has another free scholarship available for the 2021-22 season.
DJ’s time at U of L is always going to be sort of a “what if” deal. What if injuries didn’t get his freshman season off to a late start, what if the 2020 NCAA tournament had happened, what if the season after hadn’t been so weird, what if he’d come back for one more ride. Regardless, he certainly has the skill set to be a valuable player at the next level, which would be wonderful to see happen over the years ahead.
Best of luck, DJ. Go Cards, go Rocks.