West Coast Star Likes Orange

There's little doubting Marcus Johnson's athletic ability.<br><br> So it's little surprise that the 6-5 run/jump athlete from Westchester H.S. in Los Angeles, Calif., is seeking a college program that suits his style.<br><br>

A member of the West squad at the recent USA Basketball Youth Development Festival, Johnson said that his current top four include UConn, Louisville, Arizona and Syracuse. Others in the mix include Kansas and Texas.

"UConn and Louisville fit me the best because of the transition game," Johnson said. "The coaches are on you and they get after it defensively."

Johnson took an unofficial visit to Syracuse this past winter, watching the Orange's home game against eventual national champ UConn.

"It was a great atmosphere and the Dome was packed," he said. "The campus was also great."

He also spoke glowingly of Lute Olsen's Wildcat powerhouse.

"It's a great program and I am friends with [former Westchester Comet] Hassan Adams," Johnson explained. "It's relatively close to home and I like Lute Olsen."

Johnson averaged 19.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists and two steals per game for the Comets in 2003-2004.

Always a threat in transition, Johnson excels at attacking the basket and finishing the break. He's always been a suspect shooter from the perimeter, and his performance at the Youth Development Festival did little to dispel that notion.

Johnson averaged 12.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for a defenseless West squad that yielded 136 points per game at the Festival. He shot 34 percent from the field overall and 33 percent (7/21) beyond the arc.

On the plus side of the ledger, Johnson is a high energy player blessed with ample athleticism. If he can learn to play a little more under control and shoot it off the bounce, he could be that much more difficult for opposing defenses to stop.

Johnson will kick off a busy summer next week at the Reebok ABCD Camp. He'll then hit the travel circuit with Pat Barrett's Southern California All-Stars (SCA) following ABCD. SCA will attend the Reebok Big Time (Las Vegas) and Reebok West (Fullerton, CA) Tournaments.

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