Bloomington – Indianapolis' North Central H.S. has been very good to the IU program in recent years, and Coach Doug Mitchell is grooming another elite perimeter talent.
First it was A.J. Ratliff, who won Indiana's Mr. Basketball in 2004 before landing in Bloomington. Next up was Eric Gordon, who was tabbed as the state's best last spring before enjoying an All-America season at IU. Now, it's 2010 guard Terone Johnson who figures to grab plenty of people's attention.
Johnson is a 6'2", 180-pounder who can play either guard position. He showed off his 3-point shooting skills in scoring 18 points to help Indiana Elite LNO to a 66-58 win over the So-Cal All-Stars Friday night in the Adidas May Classic, but he also spent a good portion of his time with the ball in his hands as LNO's point guard.
While running the point, Johnson showed he can be a scoring point guard, someone who has the strength and willingness to attack the basket as well as score points in bunches from behind the arc. Those skills helped Johnson averaged 18.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a sophomore at North Central H.S., earning him first-team underclass all-state accolades from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.
College coaches have taken notice. Johnson said he's already been offered a scholarship by Butler, and he's also been nearing from Indiana, Purdue and Kentucky.
Johnson said Indiana's interest has picked up as of late, coinciding with the arrival of Tom Crean.
"With the new coach, they've been showing a lot of interest," Johnson said. "I've talked to (Crean) on the phone a couple of times, and he was at the Top 100 Showcase I was at and I saw him at a lot of my games."
Johnson said that Crean hasn't talked about offering a scholarship yet, instead preferring to watch one of the state's elite sophomores to see how he develops. But he's been turning plenty of heads with his play this spring on the Indiana Elite LNO squad, and big-name programs might not be waiting too much longer before extending offers.
"(Crean) hasn't touched on that topic (of offering), but I think he could (offer soon)," Johnson said.
Johnson figures to be among the state's most recruited players in the 2010 class along with the likes of DeShaun Thomas, Travis Carroll and Donnie Hale, among others. While he'll have opportunities to go both near and far, he admits that there's a draw to Bloomington thanks to the success some past North Central standouts have had for the Hoosiers.
The most prominent of those standouts – Gordon – watched Johnson play in his AMC first-round game Friday night and had some words of encouragement for him afterwards.
"I like how Eric Gordon came in and got to play right off and how they groomed him," Johnson said. "I liked that. I like Indiana basketball and I really like the school."
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