Keon Johnson on leaving his mark with combine record 48-inch vert


Keon Johnson knew what the NBA Draft combine record for max vertical leap was before he broke it this week, but even he didn't expect to jump as high as he did.

On Wednesday, Johnson jumped 48 inches in the air to break a 20-year-old record set by Kenny Gregory, who jumped 45 1/2 inches in 2001. Johnson also recorded a 41 1/2-inch standing vertical, which is also a combine record and 4 1/2 inches higher than anyone else in this year's class.

"It was great. It was a goal of mine going into it. For me to break the record and add a little bit more to it, I feel like it's a great way for me to leave my mark on the draft combine," Johnson said.

So, what's it like to break a record? Not surprisingly, Johnson heard from a lot of people about it.

"My phone blew up, for sure. But I really haven't seen [a change in pre-draft interest]. Teams are talking about it, but it's just something that I set a goal for myself and I exceeded that goal. I'm more happy that I've done that for myself, to see the improvement I've been making," Johnson said.

Johnson, who played one season at Tennessee, was known for his dunking ability in college. He averaged 11.3 points as a 6-foot-5 guard who rarely stepped out to shoot from three-point range. Johnson instead used his unusual jumping ability to dunk all over opposing teams.

Jumping 48 inches, or four full feet, in the air, however, is extraordinary stuff, even in the context of NBA draft prospects, all of which are unusually gifted athletically. It makes Johnson a bit more intriguing of a prospect, though his status as a likely lottery pick and possible top-10 selection was already established.


Johnson said he has interviewed with the Spurs, Warriors, Rockets, Pistons, Raptors and Heat so far. All of those teams except for the Heat are picking in the top 12.

Johnson said he's currently working on his ball-handling and shooting, hoping those skills can help him utilize his unique leaping ability at the next level. Either way, expect some highlight reel dunks.