Ex-Cat Keldon Johnson Added To U.S. Olympic Roster


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Keldon Johnson has been added to the Unites States men’s basketball 2020 Olympics Team roster, becoming the third former Kentucky men’s basketball player to represent the Red, White and Blue this summer in Japan.

Johnson, who was chosen as a member of the Select Team, was elevated to the 12-man roster on Friday. He and JaVale McGee were chosen to replace original selections Bradley Beal and Kevin Love. Johnson joins Wildcats Bam Adebayo and Devin Booker on the squad competing July 25-Aug. 8 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

The former UK stars will make their debuts for the 15-time Olympic gold medalist U.S. National Team, which is seeking its fourth straight gold medal at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad. A Wildcat has been a part of the previous three U.S. gold medals with Tayshaun Prince in 2008, Anthony Davis in 2012 and DeMarcus Cousins in 2016.

With Johnson’s addition, the Wildcats now have three representatives, the most of any college. UCLA has two players in Jrue Holiday and Zach Lavine. No other college has more than one representative on the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team.

Team USA is led by Johnson’s NBA head coach in Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs) with assistant coaches Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors), Lloyd Pierce and Jay Wright (Villanova).

Johnson was one of three U.S. Select Team players chosen to play for the Americans during the USA Men’s National Team Tour in Las Vegas as Booker, Holiday and Khris Middleton complete the NBA Finals. Johnson saw action in the team’s game vs. Australia. He scored seven points on 3-of-5 shooting from the floor in 13 minutes of action.

Adebayo is averaging 8.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in his two appearances.

After biding his time in San Antonio in his rookie season, Johnson has emerged as one of the faces of the proud San Antonio franchise. He averaged 12.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game and became the first Spur with at least 20 points and at least 20 rebounds in the same game since Tim Duncan in 2013. The 2019 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year also made the All-SEC Second Team at Kentucky and played a key part of the 2019 Elite Eight team. The Spurs selected Johnson with the 29th overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Twelve teams will compete for the gold in Japan. The 12 teams will be divided into three groups (A, B and C) of four teams each. The group stage of the competition is played in a round-robin format, with each team playing all other teams in its group (a total of three games for each team). The teams placed first and second in each group and the two best third-place teams in the group phase qualify for the final phase.

A draw will take place following the conclusion of the group phase to determine the pairings of the quarterfinals. The winners of the groups and the second-place team with the best result from the group phase are placed in one pot (D), while the two remaining second-place teams and two best third-place teams in another pot (E). Teams from the same group in the Group Phase cannot be drawn against each other in the quarterfinals. This stage of the competition is played in a knockout format and the draw will produce an Olympic bracket for the road to the gold medal.

To be crowned Olympic champion, a team has to play six games – three in the group phase and three in the final phase (quarterfinals, semifinals, gold medal game) instead of eight as in past Olympics.

U.S. Olympic men's basketball teams have medaled in each of the 18 Olympics they have participated in, winning 15 gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals. Team USA owns a 138-5 overall win-loss record. Since NBA players began representing the U.S. in 1992, Team USA is 53-3 in seven Olympics with six gold medals. The Americans are currently on a 25-game Olympic winning streak.

Eleven Wildcats have won Olympic gold medals, but two UK players have not won gold on the same Olympic team since the Fabulous Five of Cliff Barker, Ralph Beard, Alex Groza, Wallace Jones and Kenny Rollins in 1948.

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