As a freshman at the Real Deal on the Rock in 2011, Stanley Johnson showcased early how he'd go on to become one of the most celebrated players in the Class of 2014. Even then, the precocious underclassman competed with a confidence, presence and vigor that enabled him to impress at the 17-under level.
And then he became bigger, and stronger, and faster. By this spring at the opening of the April live period in Anaheim, Calif., he had sprouted into one of the most physically imposing wings in the nation.
Beginning there and then culminating this month at the Peach Jam and Fab 48, Johnson pieced together perhaps the best overall summer. If there were an actual summer MVP, he might top that list.
Johnson's game still leans heavily upon his ample athleticism. He's quick, fast and explosive off the ground, and his nimble feet and excellent balance make him very difficult to dislodge when he's on the move.
His strength is an omnipresent force as well. Johnson plays the role of bully not because he has to, but simply because that's his choice. He's a fiery competitor who brings a element of fight to each play, whether that's chasing down a loose ball, scrapping for a rebound, jumping a passing lane or simply finishing in transition.
He does possess the skills to be a finesse guy, if he wants, and he regularly surprised friend and foe alike during the summer with his well-rounded game. He's a fine handler for wing forward and a very gifted passer who keeps his head up and creates numerous assist opportunities each outing.
And his jump shot is leagues from where it had been in the past. Johnson's touch and form have enabled him to become a legitimate three-point weapon, as if he didn't already impose himself sufficiently upon opponents.
All told, that's why the coaching staffs on his trail view him as a top priority for their programs and why he ranks among the elite in his class.