Xavier Johnson is a 2012 prospect and will undoubtedly hear from many more schools because he's so talented but at this point the Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral prospect said three programs are standing out the most.
Southern Cal, UCLA and UNLV have made the biggest impression on Johnson, an athletic 6-foot-6 small forward who was one of the best players at the Double Pump May Tournament this past weekend in Carson, Calif.
"I like USC, UNLV and UCLA because they've contacted me the most so far," Johnson said. "They talk to me, they come out to watch me practice, so I feel like they're most interested in me but as the season goes on more coaches might start recruiting me. Those are my top right now."
Johnson, who said Stanford, Arizona State and Georgetown are also showing interest, likes coach Kevin O'Neill at USC and was impressed when he watched the Trojans practice this past season. There's a term Johnson likes to use that USC taught him - air space - even if he's not quite certain of its exact meaning.
"They're a good group of guys and they work really hard," Johnson said. "I watched them practice once and they practice hard. (O'Neill) focuses on something called air space so I tried to put that in my game already when my man picks up the ball.
"It means like once they pick up the ball you have to get your hands in their breathing space and it will get them tired. That's what I think it is. I should ask him but that's what my definition of it is."
The tradition and history at UCLA is important to Johnson, who said with a better recruiting class coming in that the Bruins should be able to turn things around. Last season's bad performance should not hurt UCLA much when it comes to Johnson's recruitment.
"The tradition there is great and they're a great group of guys," said Johnson, who plays with Double Pump Elite. "They have some really good guys coming in next year and they'll be much better for years to come."
Coach Lon Kruger has made a big impression on Johnson already and so the Runnin' Rebels will stay in that top mix of teams for a while.
"Coach Kruger is great, I watched them practice, they all bust their butt and work hard and they're trying to work really hard all the time," Johnson said. "The pre-game show there is tight."