2007's Johnson Favors Duke and UNC

It's never too early to start looking at the underclassmen, and that's what will happen soon as one of the top sophomores in the country lists Duke as his favorite.

Gary Johnson hasn't even received a letter from Duke or North Carolina. That's bound to change shortly after the New Year.

The 6-7, 205-pound Aldine (Texas) High sophomore power forward, who missed most of last spring and summer, turned in a big-time performance on Wednesday night in a 52-33 upset victory over nationally ranked and previously unbeaten Kingwood at the Academy National Invitational.

Johnson, who just turned 16 a few weeks ago, is a big-time athlete who runs the floor, blocks shots, can score in the post and can also knock down shots from mid-range.

He finished with 16 points, 9 boards and a trio of blocks in the victory.

``Honestly, I didn't think we could pull it out," Johnson said after the win. "But they were undefeated and we felt like we had nothing to lose."

Johnson didn't get a chance to display his skill package much with his Houston Hoops team last year because of a torn meniscus sustained in late March that sidelined him until late July.

``I had surgery and when I came back I was a little rusty," Johnson said. "I was probably about 70 percent when I came back and I didn't attend the Nike or the NBA Camp for people to see me."

Johnson averaged 16 points and 12 boards as a freshman at Aldine and is putting up 24 points and 15 rebounds per contest through eight games this season.

``He's so coachable and his work ethic is out of this world," Aldine coach Zeek Smith said. "When I tell all the guys that practice is over, he wants to keep playing. He's just a coach's dream and a gym rat." ``He always keeps his composure and sets a great example as far as leadership is concerned," Smith added. "He's an inside guy right now, but we're trying to get him to where he'll be able to play some three."

Johnson said that he's receiving interest from the likes of Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, UCLA and Georgia Tech. However, he said that Duke and North Carolina – neither of which have sent him any correspondence – are his two favorites.

``I love Roy Williams," Johnson said. "He did so much at Kansas and carried it on at North Carolina. I love Duke for Mike Krzyzewski."

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