By LARRY VAUGHT
Former Kentucky all-SEC defensive lineman Dennis Johnson has been around a lot of special athletes during his collegiate and professional playing career as well as his high school coaching career.
His son, Jasper, now plays for Link Academy after transferring from Woodford County and is one the top players in the 2025 recruiting class. During last summer’s AAU play, Jasper Johnson was on the same team as new Kentucky commit Jayden Quaintance.
“When we first went to Team Thad, the first time I saw this kid (Quaintance) he just dominated and I went up and shook his hand. That’s how good I thought he was,” Dennis Johnson, the athletics director and head football coach at Woodford, said. “He’s a very skilled big guy to be so young (16).
“He can shoot. He can dribble. I have not seen a kid like that in a long time. He is 6-10 with a great body for a kid only 16 years old. He is going to be a phenomenal talent.”
Dennis Johnson believes Quaintance can guard anyone from a two guard to center. He has no glaring weakness with the way he can shoot, rebound, dribble and fit into various systems.
“I have seen him play a lot and he was always dominant,” Johnson said. “He’s not very talkative but Jasper said he was a great teammate and plays the right way. It’s just that is not a very vocal guy yet.”
Johnson believes Quaintance has a chance to be “very special once he gets in a system and can hone” what he does playing for a coach like John Calipari.
“I think he is a 5 (center) but he is one of those European type players that runs rim to rim. He wants to shoot the 3. He can take the ball off the rim and go the length of the court. When you see his coordination and how big his body is, it’s just hard to believe he’s that young,” Johnson said.
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