The questions were coming for Gary Johnson. Everyone wanted to know where he'll be going to college. The five-star forward decided to answer that question just days before the July period started. The Houston area forward committed to a national power on Monday.
Johnson, a 6-foot-6 forward from Aldine High School, committed to Texas just days before heading off to the Nike All-American camp. Johnson is a major coup for Rick Barnes and the Longhorns as the Big 12 school continues to lock up the in-state talent.
"It has been on my mind today and I decided to get it out of the way so I could enjoy my last month of playing AAU," Johnson said.
"I felt real comfortable with the staff and I knew I could play close to home. It's only two hours away. I can drive back home and see my family and I'm excited that they can come and see me play. That played a big part in my decision."
Johnson, the No. 24 ranked player in the class of 2007, is the first player to commit to the Longhorns in the class of 2007. Texas locked up five in-state prospects last year, including five-star forwad Damion James. Johnson said he kept tabs on Daniel Gibson and LaMarcus Aldridge, members of Texas's stellar 2004 recruiting class, when they were in Austin.
"I talked to Daniel about every week and LaMarcus every once in a while and they always told me what's going on and how the coaches worked with them. In talking to them, I feel like I can benefit from everything there in the long term."
"I feel like I have to represent my state," Johnson said.
Johnson, a tireless worker inside the paint, said Texas plans on utilizing his versatility when he arrives to college. Johnson said Barnes will use him both inside and out.
"He was actually the one that came up with the idea of me playing small forward," Johnson said. "I felt like if I didn't grow or get stronger than playing the small forward position would be the best thing for me. I really took that to heart."
Johnson said he also considered Arizona, Kentucky, Duke, LSU and Florida.
"I feel like I don't have to play for anybody else now," Johnson said. "Every time you'd go play, the head coaches would be in there and watching you. Now I can just be myself and play my game. I don't have to play a certain way."
Johnson has a busy July ahead of him. He's one of the top players at the Nike All-American camp and anchors a talented Houston Hoops team, one that will certainly contend at the Peach Jam, Main Event and National Youth Championships later in the month.