Throughout the summer, we’re going to introduce you to UK’s top targets in the 2014 class. So far, we’ve profiled Emmanuel Mudiay, Cliff Alexander, Josh Perkins, and Leron Black. Now, let’s take a look at Stanley Johnson.
Santa Ana, California (Mater Dei)
6’7″, 220 lbs.
(Chart via 247 Sports)
“THE LIST”: Arizona, Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, UCLA, USC
Buzz: Despite the fact his team lost, Johnson had a great game Monday night in the finals of the 2013 adidas Nations Championship, posting a team-high 17 points and 11 rebounds. He was impressive throughout the tournament, wowing analysts with his scoring, rebounding, assists, and passing. This comes after another buzz-worthy performance in the Peach Jam, in which he led all scorers with a 25.6 points per game average, and finished ahead of Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander in rebounds, averaging 10.2 per game.
October 4: Kansas
October 12: Arizona
October 18: Kentucky (Big Blue Madness)
Also has official visits planned for Florida and Oregon and will take unofficial visits to UCLA and USC
The announcement: Not set, targeted for late November/December/January. Will sign in the late period.
— Big, strong frame
— Very athletic and versatile
— Great defense and rebounding
— Good in transition
— Isn’t afraid of contact
— Fierce competitor
— Inconsistent outside shot
— Sometimes too out-of-control, can’t finish
— Needs to improve lateral quickness
What They’re Saying About Stanley:
ESPN’s Paul Biancardi: “No. 12 prospect Stanley Johnson (Fullerton, Calif./Mater Dei) has been on a mission this spring, as he has shown up to every event aiming to be the best and help his team win. He has been crushing the competition with his physically strong frame, rebounding and scoring skills.”
Veteran NBA Scout to Adam Zagoria: “If Stanley Johnson is the eighth-best player in the country, I need to see the first seven. He’s a special performer. He did it when it counted.”
Eric Bossi: “A fiery competitor, Johnson is a good athlete with a patented spin move and surprising quickness. The game was grinding and Johnson had no problem taking the fight into the paint and going to work where he knew Westchester couldn’t stop him. At times, he does a lot of things that a guy like Ron Artest used to do when he was coming up.”
Evan Daniels: “The thing about Stanley is he’s versatile. He’s really added a lot to his game. At one point, I thought he was going to end up being a ‘4’ man just because of his body and how thick he is. But he’s really developed his ball skills. He handles the ball really well. He’ll do the little stuff. And I think that’s what coaches like about him. He rebounds, he plays hard, he’s a team guy, he wants to win. He works really hard too, and I think everybody sees that.”
What He’s Saying About Kentucky/Himself:
On Kentucky: “I’m the only person that was offered by Kentucky at my position so that’s a big deal for me. So just kind of realizing that kind of made me think about that a little bit more.”
On visiting for Big Blue Madness: “That’s supposed to be the biggest show ever. I talked to Cliff [Alexander], Cliff went last year. I have a couple people going with me this year. The coaches have explained it to me already. I told them I want to be there for the best. And this is their best. I’m excited for it. I’m excited to see all the fans. I’ve never seen Rupp. They say it’s like 30,000 deep. I want to see that full. I want to see all the players, I want to see everything.”
On Calipari: “He’s really excited about me and he really wants me to be there. I feel that (from him) more than a lot of other coaches. Coming from the biggest school on my list – quote, unquote – that’s a lot coming from him.”
On the BBN: “If I tweet #BBN, I’ll have 500 retweets. If I tweet #BearDown or #RockChalk or #FightOn, four or five (retweets). The whole fan support at UK is huge.”
Former Calipari Player Comparison:
Like MKG, Johnson seems to possess an extra toughness and will-to-win. His strong summer performance has shown he’s a proven leader for his team, and he shows no fear driving to the basket.
Reasons to think Kentucky has a good chance:
Johnson has already said Kentucky is the biggest school recruiting him, and he’ll be visiting Lexington on the program’s biggest night–Big Blue Madness. He says he and Calipari have a special bond, in part because he was the first small forward Calipari offered in the 2014 class, and remains the priority at that position. Plus, he showers before every game, which is very hygienic.
Reading the Tweet Leaves/Tweet Beat Potential:
I wanna commit already man
— Stanley Johnson (@StanMan_41) July 31, 2013
There's a difference between wanting to commit and making the right decision for your future
— Stanley Johnson (@StanMan_41) July 31, 2013
He’s eager, but smart.
"LOL" to the girls that manipulate pictures and trick guys into thinking they bad #WESEEYOU
— Stanley Johnson (@StanMan_41) June 20, 2013
That’s almost Doron Lamb quality right there.
He posted this picture of himself and Justise Winslow on Instagram with the caption “College roommate.” Winslow got an offer from Kentucky after an impressive showing at the Peach Jam, but also has offers from Duke, Arizona, UCLA, Baylor, Florida, Houston, Kansas, North Carolina, Stanford, and Texas A&M. So, if Johnson’s not talking about Kentucky, he could be referring to Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Florida, or UCLA. Hmm…well played.
Final Judgement/How bad do we want him?:
Johnson’s size and athleticism are great, but after reading about him, what most appeals to me is his leadership. Johnson has repeatedly been referred to as a warrior with a team-first, never-give-up mentality, an attitude which is essential for freshmen to succeed at Kentucky. Cal’s best players are the ones that–for lack of a better phrase–refuse to lose. The big question may be whether or not Cal lure him away from the West coast. He’s got a prime opportunity when Johnson visits for Big Blue Madness.