Austin Johnson wanted to make his verbal commitment face-to-face with his future college coach but the excitement that surrounded the school he'll be going to was just too much to wait.
Johnson, a 6-foot-8 big man from Blair (N.J.) Academy, made the call to Rutgers head coach Fred Hill on Monday night after hearing the news of Greg Echenique's commitment to the Big East school. Johnson didn't want to wait until Tuesday as he originally planned to make the verbal commitment.
"I was about to commit about a month ago but I wanted to wait until after the season was over just to clear my head," Johnson said. "I was going to take a visit there tomorrow to tell them. When I heard Greg committed, that was just the icing on the cake."
Johnson joins his Playaz AAU teammate Mike Rosario, the gem of Rutgers' 2008 recruiting class, at the Big East school. Johnson said he likes the pieces of the puzzle that are being put together for the Scarlet Knights.
"I think we are going to be contenders in the Big East if not right away but definitely in the short term," Johnson said. "We just have a couple tremendous recruiting classes over the past couple of years and I think we can do some big things."
Rutgers was the first school to show serious interest in Johnson, he said, and that was a big part of his decision.
"Coach Hill really showed consistency in his approach to recruiting me. He was the first coach to offer me a scholarship regardless of the situation, he was there. When I transferred schools, he and coach [Jim] Carr were always there. I feel like I put his loyalty into it when I made my decision."
Johnson averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds this season at Blair Academy. He said he also considered St. Joseph's, Virginia, Boston College and Seton Hall.