There's never been much doubt about Johnson's raw talent. Rated in the top 50 by Scout.com in the fall of 2008, Johnson signed a letter of intent with Oklahoma State during the early signing period. However, over the next few months his recruitment turned upside down. He was dismissed from his prep school at Mount Zion for unspecified reasons, then apparently did not qualify and opted instead to attend Moberly Area Community College, where he averaged 22 points and eight rebounds for a 25-win team this past season.
"He's one of the reasons we won 25 games," Moberly head coach Jay Spoonhour. "He's a big guy (6-8, 245 lbs.), but he doesn't look like he weighs that much when you look at him. He has a really good frame, and he's just a strong, athletic player. He was really good for us."
Johnson was so good that he was a third team NJCAA All-America selection during his first juco season. He was one of just five freshmen among the thirty players on the three teams. He was also named the Region 16 juco player of the year by the NJCAA.
"We played him inside a lot, but we let him step out a little bit," said Spoonhour of his playing style. "That's not his strength, but he can shoot it out to 16 or 17 feet. He does have to get better there, but he'll work on that. He can put it on the floor when he needs to, but he's at his best inside."
The numbers bear out Spoonhour's analysis. Johnson was just 8-36 on three point tries this season, but grabbed a team high 191 rebounds, including 70 on the offensive end. That helped lead to a number of second chance points and an excellent 54% shooting mark from the field. Free throws are a concern, as he hovered right around the 50% mark all season, but he has the ability to make up for that on the defensive end, where he blocks shots and is an agile defender in the paint.
West Virginia, according to recent reports, is strongly in the mix for Johnson's services. He has since made yet another move, and is now attending classes at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla. If he can get his academics in order and graduate after the 2010-11 season, he would have two years' eligibility left at a Division I school.
Other schools that are still on Johnson's list include Iowa State and Cincinnati.