NBA loses it over 20-year ’freak’ insanity

Keon Johnson has become the toast of the NBA Combine as the prospect shattered a record that has stood for 20 years.

The Tennessee freshman shooting guard averaged 11.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 27 games in 2020-21 and entered the Draft with high hopes of being a first-round pick.

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With American sports reading into plenty when it comes to the Draft Combines for the various sports, Johnson put his name up in lights by beating Kenny Gregory’s vertical jump record, which was set in 2001.

Actually, he didn’t beat it — he destroyed it.

Gregory’s long standing record was 45.5 inches (115.5cm), while Johnson smashed it by 2.5 inches with his 48 inch (122cm) effort.

While the records don’t mean everything — Gregory went undrafted and never played in the NBA — Johnson is expected to be one of the lottery picks in the first round.

Several Draft boards having him going to the Golden State Warriors with pick seven, including the New York Post and Tankathon, while ESPN have the 196cm star ranked eighth in the draft class.

Keon Johnson is sitting pretty in the NBA Mock DraftsSource:Getty Images

At very least, most boards appear to have him going in the top 14 picks.

While his incredible feat — paired with a standing vertical leap of 41.5 inches (105.4cm), the first since 2000 to break through the 40 inch mark — won’t do much to help his draft stock as The Athletic’s NBA Draft senior writer Sam Vecenie said: “Every evaluator in the gym in Chicago knew that Johnson is an absolutely incredible athlete”.

Vecenie has Johnson going ninth to the Sacramento Kings in his mock draft.

Regardless of what happens in the future however, social media lost its mind for the record setting feat.

Keon Johnson with the combine record 48 inch vert. My goodness. (via @NBA) pic.twitter.com/TnDXb6JkHg

Keon Johnson. 48-inch vert.

Freak athlete. https://t.co/Td2Ge6FzWQ

😳😳 Keon Johnson is a stud. https://t.co/aAiQC2htAT

I think I’m even more blown away by Keon Johnson’s 41.5-inch standing vertical leap? Believe he is the first person since 2000 to crack the 40-inch mark on standing vert. Which is insane.

The Keon Johnson 48” vertical is the most amazing testing result I’ve ever seen. Kenny Gregory set the record 20 years ago. Keon shattered it.

Athleticism doesn’t equal NBA greatness (see Gregory) but gotta believe that teams that are on the fence will be influenced by it.

Tennessee’s Keon Johnson just recorded a 41.5’’ standing vertical and 48’’ running vertical jump. Wow.

It comes just a day after the NBA Draft order was revealed in the Draft Lottery.

While it was far from the most interesting television, the Detroit Piston will get to pick first ahead of the Houston Rockets in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Arguably the most interesting part of the night was that Chicago lost its eighth overall pick to the Orlando Magic as the pick was traded as part of March’s swap to bring All-Star centre Nikola Vucevic to Chicago.

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