James Johnson took full advantage of the July Evaluation Period and had his coming out party during the Nike All-American Camp. A relative unknown for most of the spring and summer, the 6-foot-8, 215-pound small forward from Cheyenne (WY) East High School simply put-on a show in Indianapolis. High major programs from all continue to call, but it appears that five schools in particular have emerged as the team to beat for Johnson.
When Johnson, a three-star prospect, traveled to Indianapolis, Ind., in early July for the Nike All-American Camp, he was a virtual unknown. Less than a month after his performance, the athletically gifted prospect has seen quite a few changes take place in his recruitment.
In somewhat of surprising fashion, Johnson has emerged as one of the most heavily recruited players from the 2007 class. A few days after returning home from Indianapolis, the 6-foot-8, 215-pound small forward had his cell phone programmed to reject all incoming calls. Coaches and recruiting analysts wanted nothing more than to become a bit more familiar with the late bloomer.
Justin Young, a National Recruiting Analyst for Rivals.com, had this to say about Johnson during the Nike Camp.
"Wyoming. Not your traditional starting place when looking for high-major players. But that is where the 6-foot-8 wing forward hails from," said Young. "In fact, that is where he hangs his state championship title and tournament MVP. There can't be too many athletic and big wings in Wyoming that can check him at the high school level. He likes to stroke the three and attack the rim. Johnson has the tools that catch the eyes of recruiters at the highest level.
"He had done that so far here at the Nike camp," he added. "In fact, he could be one of the breakout guys that always emerge from All-American events. Johnson said he has offers from Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and Washington State while Wake Forest, Gonzaga, Boston College and Wichita State are looking at him. A host of schools will follow him down to the Kentucky Hoopfest after the Nike camp and to the Reebok Big Time in Vegas. Johnson will play with Colorado based True Players AAU team."
It might have taken longer than expected, but Johnson has finally made a name for himself at the highest of levels. Despite averaging 21.3-points, 5.2 blocks, 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals as a junior at Cheyenne East High School, Johnson didn't receive enough exposure to make a name for himself on a national level.
Several schools had expressed a serious interest in Johnson, but at the time, his options were limited. After a slow start to the recruiting process, he is being heavily courted by the likes of Arizona State, Boston College, Cincinnati, Kansas, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Wyoming, Gonzaga, Wichita State, Tennessee and others.
"Kansas, Wake Forest, Boston College, Cincinnati and Tennessee are the five schools at the top of my list," said Johnson. "Those are my top five schools. All of the schools have offered scholarships and have shown a lot of interest in me. Wichita State is another school that I am interested in, but I don't know if Gonzaga is still an option.
"I still need to take my ACT before I can schedule any official visits," he added. "I am going to take that early in the year, so I hope to start putting together a list of schools that I would like to visit. I am planning to take all five visits."
Johnson made it perfectly clear that he has a sincere interest in all five programs and, more importantly, will consider all of his options.