Johnson Continues His Rise

Power forward James Johnson, from San Diego (Calif.) Morse, is one of the fastest rising prospects in the 2010 class. The 6-8, 210-pounder has over 20 scholarship offers from coast to coast with more on the way. spoke with Johnson as he heads into the second session of the July evaluation period...

Power forward James Johnson has come from off the radar to the #21 prospect in the 2010 class in a matter of four or five months. The 6-8, 210-pound, skilled big man burst onto the national scene in April and May and continued his stellar play at the NBA Players Camp and on the July circuit.

Along the way during his terrific stretch of play has been scholarship offers from around the country. He has offers from the likes of California, USC, Oregon, Oregon State, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Marquette, Indiana, Ohio State, Virginia, Arizona, UNLV, San Diego State, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Minnesota among others, and interest from schools like UCLA, Kansas and Texas.  So, trimming a list like that can prove to be a tough chore.

For Johnson, that task will likely come at the end of July or early in August.

"I had a list, but I'm open now and talking to everybody," Johnson said. "I'm only playing in one more tournament, Adidas 64 for L.A. Pump N Run. After that, I have a trip planned to see Marquette, Oklahoma State and Arizona. I will cut my list down after that I think."

Johnson visited UCLA unofficially in June. 

While it's early to name a leader for the five-star prospect, two schools appear to have a great shot to get official visits.

"I would say I'll definitely visits UVA and Arizona," Johnson said. Another program that has a good shot at receiving an official visit is the Texas Longhorns, whom Johnson has liked for a while.

"I'm pretty sure Texas did offer me. I talk with Coach Springmann. I think I have a visits planned, but not sure of when," Johnson said.

When it comes to what Johnson is looking for in a program, a few things stand out, with one being most important.

"I'm looking for a good, trustworthy coach first. A coach that is really into player development. Of course, a nice climate would be cool. For me, I don't like a coach calling and offering me a scholarship and telling me how great I am without getting to know me. I like coaches to keep it real. Tell me where I can get better instead of telling me what they think I want to hear," Johnson said.

Of the prospects in the 2010 class, Johnson may have made the fastest and most impressive rise to possible McDonald's All-American type status. While it's an honor, Johnson doesn't get caught up in the rankings.

"For me, I don't try to get caught up in rankings. I'm looking to do my best as far as the end of the summer, but I feel grateful I was invited to the camps and tournaments I was. I've had a lot of fun at all of the camps," Johnson said.

Johnson has lived in the San Diego area for ten months after moving from Canada (Alberta). He lived in Canada for a few years, but was born in the states.

Johnson cites his ability to play on the perimeter for a big man and defensive rebounding as strengths as well as hustle, playing hard and blocking shots.

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