Weight loss seems to be all the rage in basketball this offseason.
LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony losing weight made headlines in the pro game this offseason and plenty of centers around college basketball like North Carolina’s Kennedy Meeks, Iowa State’s Georges Niang and DePaul’s Tommy Hamilton have dropped significant weight after the season as well.
Add Kentucky sophomore center Dakari Johnson to that list. According to a story from Keith Taylor of the Winchester Sun, Johnson is down to 255 pounds from 275 last season.
Question: How have you changed physically since the end of last season?
Johnson: “I’m more athletic now, I’m eating the right foods and getting my body fat down. It changes my game a lot. I can move a lot better, get up and down the court better and it just feels like I’m lighter on my feet.”
Question: When you started conditioning, is it something you took on yourself, or did Calipari help you with it? How did that come about?
Johnson: “When I went back home after the season, he sat down, talked to me and told me the things I needed to work on: free-throwing and get my body in better condition. When I came back, I sat down with (strength) coach (Rock) Oliver and the nutritionist, we went out to eat and they told me what type of food to get. The first two weeks, I was craving the pasta and the fried stuff, but after a while I saw my body progress and change, so I just stuck with it.”
Between playing limited minutes due to Kentucky’s deep front court and dropping 20 pounds, Johnson shouldn’t have any issue with conditioning this season.
Johnson started all nine of Kentucky’s postseason games and remains a key player for them this season. With this weight loss, if Johnson plays well and stands out among that front court rotation, he can help lead Kentucky to a national championship while also improving his future pro stock.