With a 74-55 win over South Lyon Tuesday Ypsilanti won its first regional title since 1981 and advanced to the state quarterfinals to take on defending state champ Saginaw. One of the top performers in the victory was junior power forward, Jaylen Johnson. The 6-7, 200-pounder was his team’s second leading scorer with 14 points, but as always, his activity on the glass and on the defensive end was once again key.
“(The season) has been going good,” Johnson said. “I’ve been getting a lot of rebounds. I got nominated for All-Conference. I’ve gotten stronger and my I.Q. is better. I can rebound. I can dunk. I can score. And when my team needs me, I’m there for them.”
Though still an under-the-radar recruit, Johnson has been garnering more attention of late. His athleticism and ability to put the ball on the floor at his size are intriguing attributes. However, many scouts cite his jump shot as the aspect of his game that if improved could carry his stock to the next level. A number of schools are keeping a watchful eye on his progress.
“I’m hearing from Michigan, Michigan State, Cleveland State, Central Michigan and Miami” Johnson stated. “(My offers are), Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Iowa State [and] Iowa.”
“I like Michigan, North Carolina, Kentucky [and] Miami.”
The Wolverines made the short trip across Washtenaw County to see Johnson in action this season, and he was invited to the Crisler Center earlier this season for the match up with North Carolina State. The two sides have made it point to stay in contact.
“They’re just telling me to work hard, get good grades, and how I’ll fit into their system,” said Johnson. (Coach Alexander) is cool. He’s real cool. He’s real. I think he helps his kids get better. He’s a good leader.”
Moving up of the recruiting board for Michigan and a number of other schools is among Johnson’s top priorities after winning a state championship. For that reason he isn’t necessarily in any rush to make a decision.
“I don’t know right now,” replied Johnson when asked when he’ll make his choice. “I’m weighing out my options and I’ll talk to my family and my coaches about it.”