Johnson's recruitment back to square one

Brian Johnson's list of schools has effectively been reduced to shambles.

The 6-8 junior was Matt Doherty's primary priority from the Class of 2004, but now it's anyone's guess – including Johnson's – whether the new coach will have the same level of interest in the Bishop O'Connell (Va.) forward.

"I really like Matt Doherty and he had me at the top of the list," Johnson said. "That was one of the first things I was thinking about when I heard he was leaving – whether the new coach would want me."

Johnson, who will play for the D.C. Blue Devils again this summer starting with next weekend's Boo Williams Invitational, had pretty much narrowed the playing field down to five prior to the last couple of weeks. North Carolina was the clear-cut leader with Duke, Florida, Maryland and UCLA also in the mix.

Now he admits that everything is a mess with Doherty gone and UCLA coach Steve Lavin being fired and replaced with former Pittsburgh head man Ben Howland, a coach that hadn't shown Johnson any interest while at the Big East school.

Notre Dame has moved onto his list of candidates while the Bruins have basically dropped off. North Carolina and the other three (Duke, Florida and Maryland) are still in the mix – for now.

"I try to find out as much as I can from the coaches at my school and I read the newspapers and check the Internet to see who the next coach at Carolina will be," Johnson added. "I really don't know what's going on, because I'm not sure if the new coach is going to like me."

Johnson said that while he's always wanted to attend North Carolina, the new coach will be a major factor in his decision.

While many questioned Johnson's hesitation in pulling the trigger and committing to the Tar Heels months ago when the offer was put on the table, it appears as though he made an intelligent, well-informed decision to wait it out and explore all of his options.

"Now I'm glad I didn't do anything," he said. "Now I'm just going to wait and see who the coach is and see his style of play. I know a little bit about Roy Williams and I like the style of play he uses at Kansas, but I wonder if he'd bring that to Carolina."

Williams is another coach that hasn't displayed much interest in Johnson other than a couple of letters.

"This whole thing really has been frustrating," said Johnson, who averaged 13.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game this season. "I had a top five list, but now it seems like my whole list has collapsed.

"I was going to make a decision in the fall and I'd still like to do that, but with Doherty's leaving now that makes it tougher."


Check out IC's Brian Johnson profile.

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