Mt. Lebanon’s Jonny David
For the past four years, Jonny David has made an annual pilgrimage to Lexington, Kentucky.
For the next four years, the Mt. Lebanon star plans to call the University of Kentucky home.
Thanks to a couple of coaching connections and a willingness to work for playing time at one of the nation’s premier programs, Kentucky is in David’s sight. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard will join the Wildcats as a walk-on next season.
Yes, the same Kentucky that won its first 38 games this season before falling to Wisconsin in the Final Four.
“I know that it will be a very difficult task, but I’m up for it,” Jonny said. “It’s not like I’m going there for four years just to be a part of it. The goal is to be there and play for four years. I know I’m up for it.”
Jonny’s father, Mt. Lebanon coach Joey David, played for Pitt when Kentucky coach John Calipari was a Panthers assistant. Another Pitt connection, Orlando Antigua, started his coaching career as an assistant to Joey David at Lebo before becoming an assistant at Pitt, then joining Calipari’s staffs at Memphis and Kentucky. Antigua is now head coach at USF, where Justin David (Jonny’s older brother) is a sophomore walk-on.
Calipari knew Jonny David not only as Joey’s son but as one of the top players in the WPIAL, and offered him a chance to walk-on before the season. Calipari told Jonny he had until March to decide, and responded within minutes with a “welcome to the family” text message after Jonny took him up on the offer.
Jonny had a strong senior season, averaging 18.5 points a game to earn Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Terrific 10 honors, and twice outperformed Trib player of the year Matty McConnell, a Robert Morris recruit. That gives Jonny confidence that he can compete at Kentucky, despite a roster filled with McDonald’s All-Americans and future NBA lottery picks.
“I definitely believe I can play against D-I players,” Jonny David sad. “There’s always going to be people who are going to say, ‘There’s no way he can play there.’ I could have played 10 times better this season and people would still say that. I’m looking to prove them all wrong. That’s my goal.”
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