Five-star Jalen Johnson proves his point, updates recruitment
WASHINGTON, DC – If there was a statement that Jalen Johnson was trying to make during his time the ARS Rescue Rooter National Hoopfest, consider his attempt achieved. The five-star junior continues to prove that he is one of the best in America as he discussed his legitimacy as an elite prospect, recapped his three fall official visits and the idea of staying home for college.
“I just have to come out here and play my game, every game, a lot of pressure, but also not as much, but I am the best player in the nation. That is my opinion and I am going to play like it. I am a winner and I am going to do whatever it takes for my team to win,” Johnson said. “I care about winning. A lot of these guys care about themselves but I just want to win. At the next level, they aren’t going to care about the final stat lines but about if you win or not.”
Johnson has already taken official visits to Arizona, Duke and UCLA, and was able to squeeze in an unofficial visit to Kentucky for Big Blue Madness earlier this fall. He also told Rivals.com that Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette and Wisconsin are among the others in strong pursuit.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Arizona: “It was nice down there. Coach (Sean) Miller preaches a lot about how I will be able to push the ball a lot and they have this thing called the Phoenix Push and they feel like I could play the one through five and I could do whatever for them.”
Duke: “They are just saying that I could come in and be a huge player for them and make an impact right away for them. They made me a huge priority since my freshman year of high school so I feel very special with that. They just keep preaching about getting better every day and they want to see improvement.”
Georgetown: “Just the history. Being able to learn from one of the greats, Patrick Ewing, that would be huge, with his experience in the NBA. Coach (Louis) Orr played at Syracuse, just a lot of knowledge there and being able to pick their brains.”
Kentucky: “The visit was crazy down there. I loved it there. Coach Cal (John Calipari) is basically saying, just like every other school, to continue to get better and perfect my craft and I could be a very good playmaker for that program.”
Marquette/Wisconsin (staying home): “It would be big. My fan base down there would be huge. It is something in the back of my mind and it is something that I will have to talk over with my family. For sure, it is going to stay on my mind at the end of this. Just the fan base, it would be really crazy down there.”
UCLA: “LA is a big branding city, which is kind of like what they are telling me. I could build my brand out there. They want me to get out of school in nine months, that is basically all they are saying.”
Johnson has settled into his junior season nicely but he does have an eye on a fourth official visit. “I am not really sure just yet but I do know that I want to get down to Georgetown soon,” he said.
A commitment is not imminent, though there is a timetable in mind. “I think that I am going to pick sometime around this time next year,” Johnson said regarding his college decision.
In an era where positionless talent is of the greatest value, Jalen Johnson is the epitome of a prospect that can play four positions on the offensive end and is also one of the most daunting matchup issues in high school ball.
Johnson completed his two-game stint over the weekend by posting per-game averages of 21 points, 14.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists, all while showing a much-improved jumper and impeccable point-forward qualities as a playmaker and facilitator. Well-rounded, versatile and all about doing what is best for his team, there is a good reason for why the Milwaukee native is an elite, priority recruit for the best nationally.
The prevailing thought this summer was that Duke was the team to beat. His early visit to Duke did not refute the idea but with a commitment still far off, expect for a group that includes Arizona, Kentucky, Marquette, UCLA and Wisconsin to remain heavy in pursuit as Johnson continues to establish his standing as one of the best in his graduating 2020 class.