SA Spurs: USA promotion shows Keldon is ready for big stage

Keldon Johnson - San Antonio Spurs v Portland Trail Blazers
Keldon Johnson - San Antonio Spurs v Portland Trail Blazers / Steph Chambers/Getty Images

In case you aren't already aware, last week, it was announced that San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson was selected as one of 17 players to play with the USA Basketball Men's Select Team. He had the opportunity to fly out to Las Vegas to practice alongside a stacked Men's National Team roster that includes the likes of Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, and others in preparation for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Johnson was incredibly grateful to receive the invite to Las Vegas with the Select Team, calling the opportunity "an honor and a blessing." Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich went on record stating that the experience will be very good for Johnson since he'll have the opportunity to develop under Erik Spoelstra and because it'll serve as a significant confidence booster for him.

Fortunately for Johnson, it appears that his time with the select team is paying off tremendously. It was announced yesterday that he, along with Darius Garland and Saddiq Bey, would all be promoted to the Men's National Team to play in exhibition games prior to the Olympics.

Even before this announcement, it seemed that Johnson made a very good impression on members of the USA coaching staff. Erik Spoelstra had very high praise for Johnson, saying that "[he's] really committed to improvement. He's ambitious. He wants it." Spoelstra also noted that the Miami Heat had gotten to know Johnson during the draft process in 2019 and that he considers him to be a "really fine young gentleman."

Johnson received similarly high praise from the select team's assistant coach Mark Few. Few noted that Johnson is easy to coach, has a good feel for the game, and is a quick learner. He stated directly that he's "impressed with [Johnson] in a lot of areas."

Johnson is very clearly making the most of his time in Las Vegas, and he's showing the world (along with some of the league's best players) that he's ready to take the next step in his career. We could be seeing him playing in exhibition games as early as this evening in the Men's National Team's first game against Nigeria. The games will be available on NBC Sports and the Olympic Channel, and the schedule can be found here.