The spotlight isn‘t something new to Marcus Johnson, a 6-foot-3 athlete from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. Playing with NBA superstar LeBron James at the prep level opened Johnson’s eyes to a world of media, travel and national attention. Nevertheless, the class of 2006 prospect is beginning to make a name of his own on the AAU circuit.
Johnson is still standing in the light cast by his former teammate. The prep star is playing for the King James Shooting Stars 16U summer traveling team. The team is sponsored by Nike and bears the nickname of James himself. Johnson and his talented teammates are living up to their team’s namesake. They claimed the Juniors-to-be division at the Spiece Run N Slam last weekend.
In one of the games we watched him play, Johnson scored 28 points against a talented Michigan Hurricanes 16U team. Most of his points came off of dribble penetration and transition buckets. And then there were the dunks.
On one instance, Johnson elevated to eye-level with the rim and caught an alley-oop in transition and threw down one of the nastiest and-one dunks we’ve seen all spring.
With those kinds of plays, one would think Johnson would be a national recruit. So who is looking at him? “Nobody really,” he said. Yeah, right.
Syracuse, Notre Dame, Wake Forest and Illinois were just a few of the schools involved, he said. But he’s open for more. Playing at the Nike Hoop Jamboree, The Main Event in Las Vegas and the Memorial Day Classic (and many other tournaments), Johnson has the chance to play like he did last weekend.
“Yeah, this is a big summer for me,” Johnson said. “With all of the travel we plan on doing, it’ll give us that national exposure. That’s big. We all deserve it and I’m glad we have the chance to do it.”
Johnson knows what to expect this summer. He’s received sound advice from James.
“He’s given me a lot of advice about everything. Not just basketball,” Johnson said. “He has said, ‘Don’t let the exposure get to you.’ That’s why I just try to go out and play my game and then let everything work itself out.”
So far, everything is working out just fine.