In his first game as an official member of the United States men’s basketball team for the Tokyo Olympics, Spurs swingman Keldon Johnson showed out in the team’s final exhibition game against Spain before heading overseas. With 15 points on 7-9 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and one emphatic block, he helped lead the team’s 83-76 comeback win over the current world champions. Perhaps the only negative was he fouled out late (which in FIBA only requires 5 fouls).
Johnson was promoted from the Select Team to the official 12-man roster following Bradley Beal’s departure due to COVID-19. He had received much praise and from both the coaches and his teammates due to his hustle, positive attitude, and willingness to do the dirty work. As long as he stays healthy, the experience can only be a positive for his basketball career going forward. Winning a gold metal wouldn’t hurt either.
Coach Pop on Keldon Johnson's game tonight: “Keldon Johnson just played a really solid basketball game. He made shots. He made cuts. He had a really really good night.”— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) July 19, 2021
Keldon Johnson on why he's meshed so well with this Team USA roster:— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) July 19, 2021
"I just go out there and play. Just try and make it easy for my teammates. I trust in my abilities and put in the hard work. And my teammates trust me and put me in the right spots to make good plays."
Keldon on what he wants to get out of the Olympics:— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) July 19, 2021
"I’m definitely here to learn and grow as a player. There are so many things you can learn from so many great players. Whatever I don’t understand, I’m not afraid to ask. I’m willing to grow and learn and I want to get better."
The Olympics begin on Thursday, July 23, and U.S. men’s first game will be on Saturday, July 25 at 7:00 AM CT against France before they round out the preliminary round against Iran (July 28) and the Czech Republic (July 31) as part of Group A. All three preliminary games will be played in Saitama, Japan, and elimination games begin on August 3.