Nick Marshall, Tray Matthews, K.D. Johnson
What do these 3 have in common?
Well, all 3 of these guys began their collegiate careers at the University of Georgia before electing to transfer out and head to Auburn.
Ever since Bruce Pearl arrived on the Plains, he’s made the Atlanta area his top priority in recruiting. Now, he’s been able to land a commit via transfer from the University of Georgia.
K.D. Johnson is the latest Bulldog to leave Athens and head for a SEC program as Johnson committed to Auburn late Wednesday afternoon. He joins Sahvir Wheeler (Kentucky) and Tye Fagan (Ole Miss) as former Georgia Bulldogs to leave Tom Crean’s program this offseason and join another SEC school. Johnson is one of 9 (yes, NINE) players to transfer from Georgia this offseason.
Meanwhile let’s go to Athens really quick and well.....
By the way Georgia, can we get to work on that Tom Crean lifetime contract?
K.D. is an Atlanta native who had the Tigers in his Final 5 before he choose to initially go to Georgia. Sometimes in life you are fortunate to get second chances and like Walker Kessler, he’s made the right choice this time to come to Auburn.
Johnson played 16 games last season, averaging 13.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. He also shot 38.7% from 3-point range last season and was 2nd on the team just behind Wheeler in scoring. His efforts last season netted him a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team.
His debut last year came against Auburn on January 11th when he had 21 points and a season high 7 rebounds. This was one of 4 20+ point games for Johnson last season as he came off the bench for Tom Crean’s team.
KD Johnson appreciation tweet. pic.twitter.com/HVOXkP5I1d— UGA Hoops Mafia (@UGAHoopsMafia) January 15, 2021
I wonder though with Johnson joining the Tigers could we see a reprise of this classic moment?
He joins what was already going to be an extremely deep and talented team, maybe one of Auburn’s most talented teams ever. And the hype train has left the station for next year’s team as well:
Auburn needs to figure out PG play and role allocation, but the Tigers' depth and talent base is undeniable.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 19, 2021
Bruce Pearl looks like he has the best team in the SEC entering next season. https://t.co/epOul9wthy
I’m not sure if I’m ready to put Auburn at the very top of the SEC just yet but the addition of Johnson gives Auburn yet another option to play point guard and Coach Pearl learned from last year that you can never have enough guys that are able to do that and do it well.
Johnson looks to be another option to play the 2 and could potentially start there next season alongside Wendell Green Jr. in the backcourt. Rothstein brings up a good point as who will get the most minutes at PG is probably the biggest question for this team at this point. What this also means is it’s highly unlikely that Scoot Henderson, the prized 2022 recruit that Auburn has been after for years, will come to the Plains. Rumors have swirled throughout the week that he will be heading to the G-League which probably gave Auburn good reason to pursue Johnson. Also, the G-League is becoming one of Auburn’s biggest rivals.
Auburn has one scholarship left and I would guess that they will hang onto for it the time being but look at this potential depth chart for Auburn next year:
The guys in bold are who I think will start but surely this will change as the offseason continues.
PG - Wendell Green Jr., Zep Jasper
SG - K.D. Johnson, Desi Sills
SF - Allen Flanigan, Devan Cambridge, Chris Moore
PF - Jabari Smith, Jaylin Williams
C - Walker Kessler, Dylan Cardwell, Stretch Akingbola
What Auburn has done in the transfer portal the last two months is astounding. Auburn lost four players who elected to transfer, a player to the NBA Draft (and perhaps a second depending on what J.T. Thor decides to do), and an incoming freshmen who elected to go elsewhere. There was concern and a little panic from some Auburn fans about what the roster would look like.
Auburn replaced them with two quality mid-major guards in Green (Eastern Kentucky), Jasper (Charleston), two players with SEC experience in Johnson (Georgia) and Sills (Arkansas) and a 7-footer in Walker Kessler (North Carolina) that was ranked as high as Sharife Cooper in recruiting rankings last season.
So the lesson for all of us is this: Trust Bruce Pearl.
And hey, the last two guys that left Athens for Auburn worked out pretty well for the football team, amirite?
War Eagle K.D. and welcome to Auburn!