How Kentucky’s K.T. Turner is playing a big role in five-star Tre Johnson’s recruitment

·3 min read
USA Basketball

Even though K.T. Turner’s hire was only officially announced in June, he’s already making his mark on the recruiting trail for Kentucky.

Turner has a heavy hand in the recruitment of five-star player Tre Johnson because of his Texas ties. Johnson is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Dallas in the 2024 class. He’s also the No. 1-ranked player in the state of Texas, per 247Sports, and even managed to impress LeBron James at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam.

247Sports recruiting analyst Brandon Jenkins calls Johnson “as true of a shooting guard as there is in the 2024 class. He is tremendously skilled with an advanced game for his age.”

Johnson has already landed offers from several prestigious programs — aside from Kentucky, those include Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Baylor.

While the race for Johnson is heating up, Kentucky might have a leg up because of its newest assistant. Turner has known Johnson and his family for much of his life.

“Turner and I used to work out together when Tre was in the fourth grade,” Tre’s father, Richard Johnson, said. “It’s probably been about five or six years since we’ve known him.” Johnson added that Turner has “always been a good friend of ours.”

Back then, Turner was an assistant coach at Southern Methodist, which is located in Dallas. He spent seven seasons at SMU and helped develop current NBA players Shake Milton and Sterling Brown.

“He reaches out to Tre every other day or so,” Johnson said about Turner. “He and I are good friends, so he reaches out to me, as well.”

Johnson’s ties to Kentucky run deeper than his relationship with Turner. He has had some contact with former UK guard Tyrese Maxey, who now plays for the Philadelphia 76ers. Maxey, also from Dallas, went to South Garland High School, which is about 8 miles away from Johnson’s high school, Lake Highlands.

While Johnson has not yet made an official visit to Kentucky, his father said that Turner is trying to get him to Lexington sometime soon.

“We haven’t scheduled a date yet,” he said. “But that’s something we’re looking forward to doing probably before the season. Turner was mentioning Big Blue Madness, but we haven’t set anything in stone yet.”

Johnson also has some in-state visits to Baylor and Texas scheduled for this fall. Richard Johnson played basketball at Baylor during the 1995-96 season before finishing his college career at Midwestern State. Despite one of his former programs recruiting his son, Richard said Tre’s decision will be all his.

“It’ll be 100% his,” Richard Johnson said. “I will help him navigate the process and look at the pros and cons of each program. But, at the end of the day, it’s going to be what he wants. I don’t want to look back on a decision I made that he’s unhappy with. So it’ll definitely be all on him.”

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