Playing basketball isn’t something Keldon Johnson takes for granted these days.
The 6-4 sophomore wing from South Hill (Va.) Park View missed most of the high school season after suffering a harrowing injury.
“I got injured October 31, I broke my right ankle on my growth plates," Johnson said. “It knocked me out until the end of January. I had six screws and a plate (put in).”
Johnson did return to action and ultimately helped Park View advance to the state quarterfinal. That said, he’s still recovering due to an understandably gradual healing process.
”It took some time adjusting from a boot to a regular shoe and going out there and playing,” Johnson said, adding that his weight ballooned to 210 pounds due to the time off his feet.
The injury’s impact was noticeable at last weekend’s Super 60 Showdown, but Johnson still showcased a velvety jump shot with three-point range. He also possesses quick reflexes and is a capable shooter in traffic as well.
The key now will be to reestablish himself nationally this spring and summer. Johnson competed at prestigious events such as the Adidas All-American Camp last July, but this year he’ll play for Boo Williams on the EYBL circuit against players a full year older.
He’s aiming to make a splash at next month’s EYBL opener in New York, where college coaches will be present.
“Hopefully, I will have all of my explosiveness back and be fully comfortable on the ankle so they can see me at full force,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s recruitment has slowed somewhat given his time off this season as well as the fact that he’s just a sophomore, yet he already holds some regional offers. One very prominent school in the recruitment could be Georgetown, where his brother Kaleb played for the Hoyas as a freshman this season.
North Carolina has seen him as well and likely will eyeball him again in April. It’s too early to know how the Tar Heels will build the remainder of their 2018 class to accompany committed guard Rechon Black, but clearly some mutual interest does exist and he did visit last fall for Late Night With Roy.
“I like UNC,” Johnson said. “Roy Williams lets the kids play, like Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson and players like that. My Dad and I were supposed to go to a game but never made it (due to the injury).”
Johnson currently is ranked a three star prospect but is likely to earn a fourth star by the end of summer.