New MSU Basketball Commitment

Carver High School (Montgomery, AL) forward Roquez Johnson (6-7, 205) has committed to Mississippi State basketball.

"I had sat down and talked to an assistant coach, Coach (George) Brooks, and I liked how their program is and I liked the team," said Johnson. "I knew him from when he recruited my brother, Robert Johnson."

As for what the Mississippi State coaches liked about him, according to Johnson it was "my toughness and my athleticism and I have a 7-2 wingspan."

His high school head coach, James Jackson, talked a little more about that toughness.

"He is an athlete and a beast, an absolute beast," said Jackson of Johnson who averaged 18 ppg, 12 rpg and 4 bpg. "He has great timing and he really knocks a lot of shots out of there. And when I say blocks, I'm talking about blocking them. Even in the Alabama-Mississippi all-star game he had some great blocks."

His impressive athleticism and ability to block shots was what caused a lot of colleges to recruit him early on.

"He really turned it on in AAU ball with the Alabama Challenge, a team that had some great guys surrounding him," said Jackson. "Missouri came in strong for a long while. And even Alabama's Coach Grant and his staff were like wow about him. And also Mississippi State, Auburn and Georgia. You also had a lot of your mid-majors such as Murray State, South Alabama hanging in with him. UAB also was right there on the edge about finding out about him. Those schools were calling about him a lot. Then they kind of laid off a little bit."

But one college kept after him on a steady basis.

"One thing I can tell you about Mississippi State is that they were real steady (with their recruitment of Roquez)," said Jackson. "They were sitting in the stands every game they could. They would always call from time to time just to see how he was doing. I would have to say they were the most steady of all the colleges."

That steadiness was what really drew Roquez to Mississippi State.

"He started liking Mississippi State because they were truly trying to get him," said Jackson. "He told me there are a lot of schools that are kind of touch and go but when you have those schools that are steady and constantly trying to find out about you, those are the schools that truly want you."

Although his athletic ability was what initially caused the State coaches to recruit him, one other thing probably sealed the deal for the coaches at Mississippi State, his character.

"I had a great visit with (MSU head) Coach (Rick) Stansbury and he not only talked about him being a great athlete but he also talked about character and what he wants out of his kids," said Jackson. "I think he did a lot of background checking on Roquez because he mentioned some college coaches that he talked to that I knew that knew about Roquez. They all gave him a good character reference and also about how athletic he is."

Roquez used that athletic ability to play mostly the three for Carver High School, but he sees another position on the court where he will probably play in college.

"I am probably best at the four, although I have played the three a lot," said Roguez, who is not only good at blocking shots but an excellent rebounder as well.

Roquez Johnson is MSU's fourth commitment or signee in the class of 2011, joining Okolona High School's D.J. Gardner, Callaway High School's Deville Smith and Meridian High School's Rodney Hood, who all signed in the November, 2010 signing period.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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