Bloomington – Ricardo Johnson is going to be able to take up both Indiana and Kentucky on their "Midnight Madness" invitations.
Thanks to Kentucky's decision to move up its version of Midnight Madness, the 6'3" junior from Covington (Ky.) Holmes H.S. won't have pick between the two college basketball heavyweights. While IU will hold its "Hoosier Hysteria" practice on the first official day of basketball practice - Oct. 17 – Kentucky will have its "Big Blue Madness" one week early, Oct. 10.
How? NCAA rules now allow entire teams to work together for two hours per week leading up to the start of "official" practices, and Kentucky has opted to hold a two-hour midnight practice/scrimmage Oct. 10. That's good news for Johnson, who can now take in the festivities at both schools.
When Johnson comes to IU, it will be his second trip to Bloomington in less than a month. The ultra-athletic wing made the trip to IU last weekend for the IU-Michigan State football game and had a chance to look around campus and sit down and talk with the Indiana coaching staff.
"I got to campus and it was humungous," said Johnson, who also look an unofficial to Xavier earlier this fall. "It was a great atmosphere. I also got to spend about 20 minutes with the coaches, and they told me about the program and how I might be able to be a part of the program."
While Indiana hasn't extended a scholarship offer to Johnson just yet, he appears to be someone that Coach Tom Crean and staff are very interested in. Johnson is considered by many to be the best player in Kentucky in the Class of 2010, someone who can play any of the perimeter positions.
Johnson said the IU coaching staff got in touch with his AAU coach to arrange the unofficial visit, and that he came away impressed with what he saw.
"I like Indiana, but it's still early," said Johnson, who is also hoping to take unofficials in the coming weeks to Tennessee, Kentucky, Butler and possibly Cincinnati. "I don't really know where I want to go yet. I'm going to have to start thinking about things, because it's going to come."
Johnson averaged 11.1 points and 3.8 rebounds as a sophomore on a Covington Holmes H.S. team that went 34-3 and advanced to the state championship game. He's expected to take an a much bigger role as a junior, and he has his sites set on leading his high school team one step farther this time around.
"There's going to be a lot more on me this year for sure," Johnson said. "I'm going to be the man of the team, and we have some unfinished business."
That unfinished business is as a result of how the 2007-08 campaign concluded. Holmes' state tourney run ended with a 57-48 loss to Mason County H.S., which was led by UK recruit Darius Miller. Johnson scored 15 points in the game for Holmes H.S.
"It was an amazing feeling to get there, but we wanted that one more win," said Johnson. "It gets you thinking if you'd done one more rep in the weight room, or one more free throw or more shot at the end of practice. You're that close and you work so hard, so to end with a loss was tough. Now I know what it takes to get back and not get a runner-up ring."
Johnson Talks IU Visit, Midnight Madness Plan
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