Big News: Johnson Makes Commitment

Gary Johnson didn't need to see smiling faces in the stands this July.'s No. 19 prospect from the Class of 2007 ended his recruitment on Monday, days before the pivotal July evaluation period was set to begin. He'll be playing close to home in the Big 12.

The Texas Longhorn coveted Gary Johnson, the 6-foot-7 power forward out of Houston Aldine. On Monday afternoon, they got him.

The 25-point, 12-rebound stud ( No. 19) committed to the Longhorns after considering Arizona, Kentucky and a host of other top flight programs.

"I never really asked him during the duration where he was actually going," Aldine coach Ezekiel Smith said. "When he made his decision I told him to let me know and we're rolling from there. I think he's come to the conclusion that being not too far away from Houston gives him a chance to have a great supporting cast there to cheer him on."

Johnson, a workhorse power forward if there ever was one, is that instant energy and rebounding guy. Texas had been hard after him for a long time and to get it closed up right before the start of the July recruiting period was a pivotal move.

Smith figured Texas was a great choice on a lot of fronts. "Once he finishes whatever it is – the NBA or a college degree – he'd like to reside in Texas and he'll have a great job after receiving a degree from Texas."

In reflecting on what Texas gets in Johnson, Smith brought up a game last season where Johnson went for a big number. "He had a 42-point game against Nimitz last year. We lost that game but when we did get the ball down the floor we got it to him and he pretty much scored every time. He might have missed 2 shots at the most that particular game."

Clearly replacing Johnson the high school level will be an impossible task. What separated Johnson and made him great under Smith was his ability to go from nice guy to tough guy after the tip.

"He's going to be very, very hard to replace. He's a humble kid with such tenacity. He's a go get them type inside the black lines. If I didn't know him I'd think he had 2 personalities. He's so tough on one end then when he gets off the court he knows how to turn it off."

Texas is coming off the best class in the Big 12 and the No. 3 nationally. Johnson, an all-american candidate, is Rick Barnes first commitment from the Class of 2007.

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