The Rise of Brice Johnson

PORTLAND, Ore. --- The rise of Brice Johnson almost never happened and an offer from North Carolina and other national powers would have probably passed him by. But that's why July is such a whirlwind month for basketball recruits.

Johnson is this year's July surprise. Because of that, his collegiate future has changed.

Johnson's original AAU team, the South Carolina Ravens, didn't make the cut for the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam. The South Carolina native was left without an invite to the summer's biggest tournament.

However, a couple of phone calls later Johnson was inside the Riverview Activity Center in North Augusta playing for the CP3 All-Stars, Chris Paul's AAU team, and the 6-foot-9 big man saw his future change in a matter of four days.

Johnson went 36-of-44 from the floor (81.6%) at the Peach Jam. He was the talk of coaches from all over the country.

Before July, Johnson held offers from the schools you'd expect to offer him - Clemson, South Carolina, NC State and Georgia Southern. After the Peach Jam, things changed. North Carolina, Connecticut, Ohio State, Missouri and others jumped into the picture.

What clicked?

"His confidence," his father and high school coach Herman Johnson said. "It went off the charts after that. He hasn't been the same since then."

The younger Johnson laughs off his father's evaluation.

"I don't know (what changed), I really don't," Johnson said. "I learned that it was time to stop playing around and be serious. I finally started to take it seriously and it blew up…Its been a great experience. I've been getting out there and getting offers."

North Carolina is one of the new offers. Johnson said he was thrilled and surprised by the call from Roy Williams.

"It is a dream school. I never thought I would get an offer like that," Johnson said. "(Roy Williams) told me how I would fit in and stuff. He compared me to John Henson and how I play like that. We are both long as ever. We both rebound and clean things up down (low)."

Johnson said he has visited Florida, Georgia Tech, Clemson and South Carolina so far and he'd like to take six or seven more visits before making his decision. Johnson is eying visits to Ohio State, Florida, UConn, North Carolina, NC State and others. No dates have been planned yet.

Not surprisingly, Johnson said the visits will play a big part in his decision.

"They are very important because I'm going to see how I'd fit it, how the atmosphere is there and everything like that. That's going to be a big deal. I want to be comfortable wherever I go," he said.

North Carolina is in good shape, according to those close to the Johnson family. So are the home schools and the Florida Gators. A decision is likely to happen in the fall.

Brice Johnson Profile

Inside Carolina Top Stories