Local Guard Catches ASU's Eye, Receives Offer

Extending offers to high school freshmen has become part of the new recruiting landscape. Thus, when Gilbert (Ariz.) Highland guard Nick Johnson wowed the Sun Devil staff in their team camp a couple of weekends ago, ASU wasted no time in extending an offer to one of the most talented in-state players. Johnson told Devils Digest that his first scholarship offer naturally caught him by surprise.

"ASU got to see me play nine or ten times each weekend," said the 6-3 175 Johnson who also participated in ASU's second session team camp this past weekend. "That was the first time Coach Sendek got to see me play. He offered me last week in between the camps. I was very excited, and it's exciting also because my dad went there." His mother Michelle added "It was a real honor when ASU offered and we're obviously excited because this is his first offer."

His father Joey Johnson (the brother of late Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns star Dennis Johnson) played for the Sun Devils in the late-80's, thus his son is certainly no stranger to the maroon and gold. "My father has helped me develop as a player and he was excited when ASU offered," Johnson commented and added that he doesn't know when he'll give a verbal commitment to ASU or any other school that may offer him.

The guard stated that he admires NBA superstar LeBron James for his versatility, and he would like to have that dimension as part of skills set. "I do a good job driving to the basket, penetrating and finishing," said Johnson as he described his attributes. "I play good defense too. I could use some work on my shot…the ASU camp was the first time I was playing the point guard position. Up until now I was a post-player because of my size (which was considerable at the junior-high level). It's been a transition, but I think I've handled it well."

Another transition will take place when he and AAU teammate Matt Carlino (who has also been offered by ASU) will be the only freshmen on the Hawks' varsity team, possibly getting much of the limelight on that squad. "Yeah, it's gonna be weird," Johnson admitted. "It's gonna help that my AAU coach, Mark Carlino, is coaching the varsity and my brother Chris is on the team too."

Johnson will be playing for the Arizona Premier AAU club which will participate in the traditional AAU tournament circuit in the month of July. "I've played club ball for the last few years, so I'm used to all the traveling…," he said

Johnson noted that he attended ASU's games against Stanford and Arizona last season, and with good friend Ty Abbott joining the maroon and gold, you can count on Johnson attending several more games at Wells Fargo Arena this coming season.

Time will tell if the soon to-be high school freshman will be a first-year player on the arena's court for his hometown college in 2011…

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