Zane Johnson to stay in state

Zane Johnson came to Tucson trying to cement an offer from the Wildcats. The sweet shooting wing from Phoenix had a solid performance at the Lute Olson Advanced Skills Camp and it was enough to land an offer from Coach Olson himself. Moments later Johnson was a Wildcat.

The 6-6 forward from Thunderbird HS in Phoenix has long liked the Wildcats but other higher profile wings got more of the attention. Playing alongside Arizona Magic teammate Jerryd Bayless got Johnson a lot of attention and the Wildcats took notice.

Johnson got more and more attention from Olson and his staff but it took some hands on instruction to solidify a scholarship offer. Johnson performed well enough this weekend at the Cats' Elite Camp to earn the offer. Johnson did not hesitate in accepting the offer.

"Yep, I committed right there," Johnson said. "It is very exciting."

Johnson is not the greatest athlete out on the wing but he could be one of the best shooters in the class. With his height he can get his shot off against most small forwards. He's also versatile enough that he can legitimately play the two, the three and even the four.

"They mentioned that," Johnson said of the possibility to play some minutes at power forward. "I have to get bigger and stronger. I need to get in the weight room a little more. If I get stronger it is definitely a possibility."

One thing that benefited Johnson is his ability to be coached. He has a great skill set to start with but has the potential to develop with good coaching. He was very open to it at the camp and that seems to have really helped his cause.

Johnson had nothing but high praise for his experience at the camp.

"It was a great camp," Johnson said. "I loved it. There were definitely a lot of great players there. Chase (Budinger) is a really good player, one of the best I have played against. Jamelle (Horne) is going to be great too."

Johnson was extended the offer shortly after he left the floor at the end of the playing portion of the camp. He went into this weekend feeling that a good performance could lead to the offer and had a feeling he had done enough to land the scholarship.

"I felt really good about the way I played," Johnson said. "It was a good experience. It went really well."

Johnson and Bayless have been AAU teammates for several years and the two have expressed some interest in playing together. At one time it was Bayless who was lobbying the Wildcat staff to have Johnson join him as a Wildcat. Now it is Johnson who is working the angles for Bayless.

"I'm going to work on him for sure," Johnson said. "I'm going to call him today and start working."

Johnson realizes that only a handful of in-state players get the opportunity to play for the Wildcats and takes pride into joining that elite fraternity.

"There have been some great players from the state," Johnson said. "Now I feel like I am one of them."

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