Johnson becomes third former UK player named to Team USA


LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Keldon Johnson will join former Kentucky teammate Bam Adebayo in Tokyo.


Johnson, along with JaVale McGee, were added as replacements on the U.S. Olympic Team Friday after Bradley Beal (health and safety protocols) and Kevin Love (calf injury) were dropped from the roster ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games set for July 23-Aug. 8 in Tokyo  Japan.


Johnson plays for Team USA coach Gregg Popovich and will be bringing familiarity to the roster. 


“We welcome Keldon (Johnson) and JaVale (McGee) to our squad,” Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo said Friday. “Keldon has played well during our training camp and in the exhibition games in Las Vegas and, being a member of the San Antonio Spurs, he is familiar with the things coach Popovich wants this team to do. JaVale has been involved in our USA National Team program since 2009, and we believe he will offer a valuable inside presence.”


The Wildcats now have three representatives on the team, 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. Devin Booker is also part of the squad. 


Johnson, a 6-foot-5 guard, attended the national team’s Las Vegas training camp as a member of the USA Select Team and was added to the USA roster for the team’s exhibition games. He has seen action in two of three games in Las Vegas, averaging 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.


The Americans will open preliminary round play on July 25, against France (8 a.m.), then will play Iran on July 28 (12:40 a.m.) and will close out preliminary play on July 31 (8 a.m.) versus Czech Republic.


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-placed team with the best result from the Group Phase are placed in one pot (D), while the two remaining second-placed teams and two best third-placed 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.


Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at or twitter @keithtaylor21.


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