For an underclassmen that can dominate game like a senior, Gary Johnson goes about his business in a quiet, just another day at the office kind of way. There is little fanfare from the 6-foot-7 forward from Aldine High School in Houston, Texas. When it comes to recruiting, though, there are two schools that get the class of 2007 prospect smiling.
Johnson, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound forward from Aldine High School, was the clear cut top player at the Academy National Invitational in his hometown of Houston last week. He played with the poise of a senior and knocked off Alief Taylor, a team featuring two big time Division hoops prospects in Arizona bound Fendi Onobun and two-sport stud Martellus Bennett.
A game later, Johnson scored 17 points and knocked off nationally-ranked Kingwood High School. In the championship game of the Texas Division, Johnson put in 26 points and 11 rebounds in one of the best basketball games of the year.
Playing with the same demeanor, whether up by 20 or down by 15, Johnson is an immovable force both physically and emotionally. The kid is never rattled.
"He is a presence night in and night out," Aldine coach Zeke Smith said. "Gary is just one of those kids that doesn't want to leave practice. He just loves the game."
Playing like Kansas star Wayne Simien, Johnson can dominate the paint with his aggressive play and then on the next possession, step out to the three point line and bury the three. He spreads the offense for the other four guys on the floor to boot.
"He opens up so many outside shots because he's going to draw a double and triple team down low," Smith said. "And we have great shooters so that works out great for us."
Johnson, the No. 28 ranked player in the class of 2007, has a who's who list of suitors. The sophomore said Arizona, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Texas and UCLA all are recruiting him. However mention Duke and UNC and you'll get a smile from the youngster.
"With Carolina, I just love Roy Williams. He did a lot for Kansas when he was there and he's carrying that on with UNC. And I love Duke for Mike Krzyzewski. They recruit the best and they get the best. I keep up with it all the time."
"People are going to be talking about Aldine basketball for the next few years with guys like Gary Johnson here," Smith said.
They already are.