PEACH JAM: Johnson UK's most-wanted?

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- When the Nike EYBL began this spring, Stanley Johnson didn't put much thought into the fact that he was the only 2014 player at his position to receive a scholarship offer from Kentucky coach John Calipari.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- When the Nike EYBL began this spring, Stanley Johnson didn't put much thought into the fact that he was the only 2014 player at his position to receive a scholarship offer from Kentucky coach John Calipari.

Almost four months later, the five-star California prospect remains the lone senior wing with a coveted UK offer.

"It was brought to my attention last week that I'm the only person offered by Kentucky at my position, so that's a big deal for me. It kind of made me think about that a little more," Johnson said between the Oakland Soldiers' games at Peach Jam.

He added that cannot be said about the other schools on his list, with the possible exception of USC, but quickly noted that UK is the lone elite program to make him "the guy."

"It's starting to sink in a little bit," said Johnson, who is rated the No. 8 player in his class by Scout. "It's a good feeling to have. They're the type of school who can offer whoever they want. The fact that they're going to wait for me is a big deal."

The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Johnson has narrowed his list of prospective schools to Kentucky, Florida, Arizona, Kansas, UCLA, USC and Oregon and set some visit dates. He plans to visit UK for "Big Blue Madness" in October.

"That's supposed to be the biggest show ever," Johnson said of UK's Madness. "I told the coaches I wanted to be there for the best of the best, and that's the best. I'm excited for it, to see all the fans and Rupp. I've never seen it. They say it's 30,000 deep. I want to see that full, the players and everything."

He plans to make his college choice later in the fall, so the visits should be a vital part of the decision-making process, but he likely won't sign until the spring when schools' roster situations become clear. For UK, that could mean keeping an eye on the progress of wings Alex Poythress and James Young, although Johnson says Calipari has convinced him he can play anywhere from the 2 to the 4 in a UK system that features "four-out, one-in."

Johnson said he likes Calipari's recruiting approach in general.

"He's a really cool guy. He puts everything out there and he's honest, so there's not many questions I have for him at this point," Johnson said. "I know where everything stands. A lot will be about my visit. One thing about my mom and my dad, they're big ‘Show me, not tell me.' That's how I was raised. I'm a ‘Show me' dude. You gotta show me how you're going to use me."

Johnson said UK's impressive success in recent NBA drafts could be considered part of the "Show me" process.

"That's one of my future goals, to play in the NBA and be a lottery pick, so seeing that, in their system, guards like me who are not the greatest jump shooters but can attack the basket in transition make it to the draft as lottery picks and they still have the reputation of not shooting it that well, that says a lot to me.

"I'll become a better shooter, but people like Archie Goodwin, you know, I'm a little bit less athletic than him, but I possess the same way of getting to the basket. He's not the greatest shooter ever, but he got to draft with the 20-something pick. If they had won the national championship, maybe he'd be a Top 10 pick."

Johnson got off to a slow start in the EYBL Finals at Peach Jam, scoring only 14 points and turning the ball over seven times in a 70-48 blowout loss to Chicago's Meanstreets in the opening game. Since that time, however, he's played at an MVP level, scoring 33, 24, 29 and 28 points in the next four games to put the Oakland Soldiers back in contention. He's averaging 25.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game going into Saturday night's play.


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