Sophomore Watch: Gary Johnson

Point guards will be a priority for the Class of 2007, but Roy Williams & Co. will also be looking at bringing in frontcourt help.

The Tar Heel radar for the high school sophomore class is still a work in process, so Gary Johnson may not be a name prominently discussed right now, but you can rest assured that he'll be someone that will be talked about in the near future. He's that talented.

Somewhat of an unknown because of his absence on the circuit last spring and summer, the 6-8, 205-pound Houston (Texas) Aldine sophomore has the Tar Heels among his leaders.

Johnson, who just turned 16 a few weeks ago, is a big-time athlete who runs the floor, blocks shots, can score in the post and can also knock down shots from mid-range.

However, Johnson didn't get a chance to display his skill package much with his Houston Hoops team last year because of a torn meniscus sustained in late March that sidelined him until late July.

"I had surgery and when I came back I was a little rusty," Johnson said. "I was probably about 70 percent when I came back and I didn't attend the Nike or the NBA Camp for people to see me."

Johnson averaged 16 points and 12 boards as a freshman at Aldine and is putting up 24 points and 15 rebounds per contest through eight games this season, earning an early ranking as a Top 5 power forward in 2007.

"He's so coachable and his work ethic is out of this world," Aldine coach Zeek Smith said. "When I tell all the guys that practice is over, he wants to keep playing. He's just a coach's dream and a gym rat." "He always keeps his composure and sets a great example as far as leadership is concerned," Smith added. "He's an inside guy right now, but we're trying to get him to where he'll be able to play some three."

In addition to North Carolina, Johnson also lists Kentucky, Texas, Duke and Illinois. Arizona is also in the mix, although the Wildcats are no longer in the leader position they once occupied.

"I really like the coach at North Carolina," Johnson said. "Roy Williams is mainly the reason why I like them."

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