2005 forward likes four

Marcus Johnson, a 6-6 junior small forward from Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester, is an explosive athlete who could end up among the elite small forwards in the west...

Marcus Johnson, 6-6 JR SF Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester, has been one of the elite athletes in the 2005 class for some time, but his skills have been somewhat slow in developing. Johnson was very at the Lynwood Summer Shootout. His shot looks better and his handle seems improved as well. There's no question that Johnson has the explosive athleticism to play at the elite, high major level. If his skills continue to progress, he could end up being one of the top small forwards in his class.

We spoke with Johnson yesterday and asked if he had started to form a list. "Syracuse, UCLA, Arizona and USC are my top four," said Johnson. "I've been to USC and UCLA for games, but I haven't taken any unofficial visits."

Syracuse has been a favorite of Johnson's from an early age.

"Syracuse was my favorite school from when I was in the fourth grade," said Johnson. "I was watching them and, for some reason, I thought ‘I'm going there' – I don't know why, I just liked them."

Johnson said distance from home won't play a role in his choice.

"It won't be a big deal," said Johnson. "My family would like me to stay home, of course, but I'm fine going away."

Johnson is one of the most naturally gifted players in the 2005 class in the west and probably the nation. He has great athleticism and quickness, which enables him to beat out his high school competition. He even beat out some of the competition at the Nike Camp in the summer of 2002, where, even among those most elite players in the country, his athleticism stood out.

Asked about other factors important to his decision, Johnson replied, "I'll look at the coach first – how he runs the program. I'd like to get some time early, but I don't care about starting. I don't mind sitting behind someone good and learning from them. I'm a big-school type of person, but I wouldn't mind going to a smaller school, as long as there's something to do there."

Johnson plans on making a decision next summer.

"I want to make my decision sometime in the summer after my junior year," said Johnson. "I want to be able to relax during my senior year and enjoy my last season."

Johnson said he has a GPA of 3.0 and he'll take the SAT in December.

Find out more about Johnson and all of the west's best prospects at prepwesthoops.

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