One of the most productive point guards in the first two sessions of the Nike EYBL has been Ohio native Markell Johnson.
The 6-foot-1 Johnson is currently regarded as a four-star prospect in the Class of 2017 and Scout.com rates him as the No. 85 overall prospect in the national rankings. But Johnson has a decision to make. The athletic lead guard could potentially play in either the Class of 2016 or 2017.
Johnson told Pack Pride that he'll know more about which class he'll enter in July once he finishes up some school work. Regardless of which class he decides to enter, Johnson is being recruited hard by N.C. State for either year.
"Coach Gottfried, he said he would take me in '16 or '17," Johnson said. "He said me and Dennis would be a good backcourt together. Dennis would be good to play with, but I also wouldn't mind starting my own team and being on my own [the following year]."
With a great first step and an ability to get in the paint whenever he wants, Johnson is tough to defend on the perimeter. Now that he's also working on his perimeter jumper, Johnson is hoping to become a well-rounded guard that can be productive anywhere on the floor.
Playing with King James in the Nike EYBL, Johnson has a lot of weapons around him after having to carry the load himself during the high school season.
"It's good because I get to work on stuff like playing off the ball," Johnson said of this spring. "My high school team, we weren't that good this year, so I had to do the bulk of the scoring. Now, I can really play my game around these guys."
Johnson said that he likes to model his game after Russell Westbrook and sees himself as a scoring point guard at the next level. He's also trying to improve some other facets of his game over the next few months in case he decides to make the leap to college.
"I just want to improve on my jump shot," Johnson said. "Mid-range, coming off of ball screens, coming off of pick-and-rolls and being able to put it up."
Besides N.C. State, Johnson said that Florida, Louisville, Ohio State, Virginia Tech and West Virginia were the schools most actively recruiting him. Over the next few months, he's looking to get to know the coaches more before he makes a decision.
"I'm building a relationship with coaches so if I feel like I want to go to that school that I'll be able to feel comfortable," Johnson said.
In seven Nike EYBL games this spring, Johnson leads King James in points, rebounds, assists and steals. King James sits 3-4 in the standings as Johnson is averaging 16.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range.
UPDATE: Markell Johnson announced a few minutes ago that he would be in the 2016 class.