Mizzou courting 'Shaq'

The first time Steven Jenkins spotted Shaquille Johnson, he was a sixth-grader starting for an AAU team with 13-year-olds. A few years later, Johnson became the second freshman to earn a starting spot in Jenkins 16 years at Lee High in Jacksonville, Fla. Now Johnson is among the top junior guards in Florida and appears to be a recruit of high interest for the Missouri coaching staff.

"They offered me [a scholarship]," said Johnson, a 6-2, 180-pound four-star prospect whom the MU staff has checked out on several occasions. "I [last] heard from them probably a week ago."

Johnson will be no easy pickup, though. He is being courted by a growing group of schools, including, but not limited to: MU, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Texas Tech, Clemson and Dayton.

"He has quite a few people talking to him," Jenkins said, adding that Johnson is already qualified academically and is taking AP courses. "I think he'll probably make up his mind after the summer."

None are the driver's seat, said Johnson, who won't begin to focus on recruiting until this spring and summer.

"All of them [are being considered]. Everybody is the same. I don't have a favorite," he said.

This season, Johnson is averaging 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game, while shooting 82 percent from the free-throw line and 41 percent from 3-point range. He is a score-first point guard whose strengths would seem to mesh well with MU's playing style. At this point, though, he's viewed as a lead guard who is transitioning to being more of a true point.

"He's an athletic kid, and we do a lot of running. So it's got to be an up-tempo, running program," Jenkins said. "He attacks the rim. Very strong finisher … He can slam. He can get up and finish."

"I like a fast-paced, full-court game and the man-to-man zone press, like Missouri [runs]," said Johnson, "I'm liking what they're [Missouri] talking about. They say I fit their program pretty well. They talk about how good of coach that coach Anderson is and how he develops players."

Johnson said he is hearing mostly from MU assistant T.J. Cleveland. He has no issues with moving away far from home for college, but, again, probably won't be making any visits for a while. InsideMizzou.com will keep you posted…

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