With the 2013-14 season behind us, Arizona fans are already looking forward to next year. Over the coming weeks we will profile each of the new players that will be joining the Wildcats in 2014-15. Check PGU frequently for the next installments.
When 6-7 Stanley Johnson plays in the McDonald’s All-American Game tonight, it’ll mark three straight recruiting classes in which Arizona has landed at least one of the prized burger-boys. And Johnson has certainly earned his stripes in getting there.
An athletic, all-around wing player, Johnson dominated the high school summer circuit and has a very college-friendly game. With a chiseled 220 pound frame and a 6-10 wingspan, Johnson is a physical specimen whose game should translate well at the next level.
His unique combination of size, strength, and skill make him a valuable asset to next year’s Arizona team. Should Nick Johnson leave for the NBA this offseason, Stanley Johnson would be the odds on favorite to start at shooting guard. That’s how good he is.
But what will he bring to Arizona after being a do-it-all player for both his high school (Mater Dei) and AAU (Oakland Soldiers) teams?
There’s no telling how a freshman will adapt to the college game, even if they are highly rated. But Johnson is about as sure of a thing as there is in the 2014 class.
For the Wildcats, Johnson will provide another tall, aggressive rebounding wing who can defend multiple positions. Sean Miller will also be pleased by Johnson’s high basketball IQ and unselfish brand of play.
Johnson is also a capable shooter, and with his size advantage against most guards he could grow into an offensive force. Combine that with his great instincts and desire to share the ball, and you might just have the focus of Arizona’s perimeter attack next season.
While not a dead-eye three point shooter, Johnson has a reliable jump shot and is a natural born scorer off the dribble. Look for him to exploit his size advantage by taking small guards into the post.
What Johnson will bring is one of the most unique combinations of physical prowess and basketball skill that we’ve seen in recent years. Arizona fans are getting used to having superstar freshmen come through every year, and Johnson is the latest edition.
Make no mistake about it, Johnson will make his impact felt on next year’s team no matter who leaves for the NBA or stays. If we want to speculate before the April 27th draft declaration deadline, we’re looking at a potential 2014-15 lineup of TJ McConnell, Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brandon Ashley, and Kaleb Tarczewski.
How’s that for reloading?
Of course, that’s a long way in the future and it’s mere speculation to talk about starting lineups before the college basketball season is technically over. But people are already projecting Johnson as a lottery pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, a one-and-done type player, and he has earned that type of hype.