Another School Enters Picture for Johnson

It looked last week like San Diego transfer Trumaine Johnson might choose between Iowa and Saint Mary's as his new destination. Another school came into the picture at the end of the week to keep the recruitment going. Senior Writer Rob Howe spoke with Johnson Monday afternoon to get an update. Read all about it in this recruiting feature.

The answer to whether or not Trumaine Johnson is closing in on a decision can be classified as a solid maybe. A week after the San Diego transfer seemed pretty sure that it would come down to Iowa and Saint Mary's, another school is in the picture.

Virginia Commonwealth University contacted the 6-foot-2, 190-pound point guard. Johnson expected to talk with the school in the next day or two about setting up a visit.

"I guess that kind of changed a little bit," Johnson said of being down to two schools. "I think it was on Friday that I got in contact with VCU. I talked with them and kind of liked what I heard.

"I talked to them again last night, and we were going to try to set up a visit sometime soon. I just want to go check them out and see if Saint Mary's and Iowa are the only two that I'm that interested in or if VCU fits in there."

Johnson averaged 11.6 points last season, starting 11 of 14 games in which he played last season as a sophomore. He was suspended for the first eight games of the season and did not play in the first four games after his return.

As a freshman, Johnson started the final 15 games of the season. The Toreros went 12-3 during that stretch, won the West Coast Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Field, where they beat Connecticut.

In a recent interview with Hawkeye Nation, Johnson explained that he never connected with the coaching staff at San Diego. That situation caused his suspension and led to his desire to transfer, he said.

A decent chance existed that Johnson would not make a trip to VCU. Johnson said that he would choose between Iowa and Saint Mary's by Wednesday if a visit didn't materialize with VCU in the next day.

"(VCU doesn't) know if they want to wait and set up the visit later in June," Johnson said, adding that VCU was unsure if they could get him in town before a dead period. "If that's the case, then I'm not trying to wait to make the decision. I'm trying to get this whole thing over with.

"But if it turns out that we can set up a visit for this upcoming weekend, then I'll go and check it out and probably make my decision coming back from that visit. But how it's looking right now is it's looking like they want to wait for a little bit for whatever reason. If that's the case, then I'm going to make a decision this week. You'll find out here today or (Tuesday) if that visit is set up or not."

According to the NCAA website, a dead period for recruiting in men's basketball runs from May 21-30. VCU would have to get Johnson on campus by Wednesday (editor's note – I did not have this info when I was on the phone with Johnson. I'm also not sure if this dead period applies to transfers).

Despite a Facebook post over the weekend that said Johnson was looking at Xavier, he said that was not the case.

"I haven't talked to anybody from Xavier," he said.

Johnson also was waiting on academic news last week. He needed to boost his GPA through his finals at San Diego. He also sent high school and college transcripts to Iowa.

"I just took the finals. I'm not sure what I got on those. I'll probably find out within the next week," Johnson said. "But I talked to (Iowa Assistant) Coach (LaVall) Jordan (Sunday) night and he was saying that they got my high school transcripts and they already had my San Diego transcripts. He said that everything looked good. Everything will be fine if my finals go well, which I think they should. I studied a lot. He said everything should be OK so academics shouldn't be a factor. I should be all right."

Johnson could come right into Iowa, sit out the coming season under NCAA transfer rules and play again during the 2010-11 campaign with two years of eligibility. The scenario is different for Saint Mary's, which plays in the West Coast Conference with San Diego.

"In the WCC, if you sit out and go to a junior college, it would be a year," Johnson said. "You would be a year removed from the other school. As long as I don't transfer directly to Saint Mary's, I could play a year removed."

Johnson could then decide whether to play a year of junior college ball and go to Saint Mary's with a year of eligibility remaining or use his year at JC as a redshirt season of sorts.

"I can go, redshirt, get a relationship with the coach and hopefully he would let me practice with the team just to stay in shape and everything," Johnson said.

Either way, Johnson plans deciding on his future destination by the end of the week. It could be sooner if VCU doesn't bring him onto campus.

"It's just all getting stressful," Johnson said. "I'm just trying to get it all over with so I know where I'm going and I can get out there for summer and work out and get ready for summer school and everything like that. I'm not trying to wait a couple of weeks to make a decision."

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