Bloomington, Ind. – Indiana is still in wait-and-see mode with Franklin Central H.S. big man JaJuan Johnson, but the question is whether or not Scout.com's 42nd ranked player in the 2007 class will still be available if and when IU decides it's time to extend a scholarship offer.
According to Franklin Central Coach Mark James, Coach Kelvin Sampson's staff has been up to the Indianapolis school to watch Johnson on a couple of occasions and have come away impressed with the 6-10, 190-pound junior's potential. But that hasn't translated into a scholarship offer - yet.
"They said they are going to watch him (this spring), and if he doesn't declare before then, if he's still around, they are going to tell him in early July if they are going to offer him a scholarship or not," James said.
While Indiana hasn't pulled the trigger with an offer, seven programs already have. James said Purdue, Xavier, Butler, Cincinnati and Marquette are among the offers, while Indiana, Wake Forest and West Virginia have also been keeping a close eye on him.
"He has a pretty good list of schools he's working with," James said.
A core member of the Indiana Junior All-Star team, Johnson is coming off a big junior season. He shot 67 percent from the floor and averaged 15 points, eight rebounds and five blocks per game in his first season of varsity competition at Franklin Central, helping the team to a 15-8 overall record and a 7-2 mark in Conference Indiana.
While he put up big numbers, James said there's still plenty of growth on the horizon for the talented big man.
"He improves everyday he's on the court – that's where he is right now," James said. "There's still a lot of room for improvement, because he's still pretty raw. He needs to work on his passing skills, his ball-handling, his free throw shooting – really just about all the offensive skills. Defensively, he needs to become more aggressive. He's not like (Lawrence North center Greg) Oden who just kills people when they come to the basket."
While there are plenty of areas to work on, James said there's no question the tools and work ethic are there for Johnson to make huge strides in the offseason.
"He has a 7-foot wing span, a 30-inch vertical," James said. "He's benching 200 and squatting 300 right now, so he's made great improvement there. With his frame, he's just long and lean, and there's not a lot to him right now. But he's a good 6-10, so he has the ability and the frame to get a lot bigger."
That room to grow and develop, meanwhile, is what most colleges covet when they evaluate Johnson – Indiana included.
"I'm sure everyone who is looking at him is looking at his potential, his upside," James said. "I think (Indiana) really liked his potential on defense. Most of the schools are talking about how he can really help their programs defensively."
Will an IU Offer Be Coming for Johnson?
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