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January 5, 2013The Kentucky Wildcats added a sixth member to their top-ranked 2013 recruiting class on Saturday night when five-star center Dakari Johnson pledged to head coach John Calipari in a live announcement on ESPNU.
After playing a game in Wheeling (W.Va.) at the Cancer Research Classic, Johnson made his announcement official during halftime of the next game.
The Johnson commitment came as a surprise to those around him, who were not shocked that the Montverde (Fla.) Academy star chose the Wildcats, but that he made his decision so early in the process.
Johnson only just reclassified from 2014 to 2013 on Nov. 6.
In choosing the Wildcats over his other two finalists, Syracuse and Georgetown, the 6-foot-9 Johnson gives Kentucky its first true low-post presence in the class of 2013.
The commitment of Johnson helps solidify the future frontcourt for the Wildcats as they also have 6-foot-7 James Young, 6-foot-9 Derek Willis and 6-foot-9 Marcus Lee coming in next season as freshmen to compliment Johnson.
A true back-to-the-basket bruiser with excellent strength for a high school prospect, Johnson is an exceptional offensive player on the low block.
He has the soft touch and footwork to find ways to score around the rim. Over the past year, Johnson has made significant strides in his conditioning, which has led to him becoming a more explosive athlete - while losing very little of his natural strength - and a more efficient shot-blocker.
Johnson gives Kentucky its fifth five-star commitment in the class of 2013 - besides Young and Lee, the Cats signed guards Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison in the fall - and its sixth commitment from the 2013 Rivals150.
The New York City native, who briefly lived in Lexington during his junior high school years, is currently ranked No. 13 in the 2013 Rivals150.
With Johnson's commitment, and the likelihood that Kentucky lands one more player in the late signing period, the Wildcats have put even more distance between themselves and the rest of the nation in the search for the nation's No. 1 recruiting class yet again.