«

»

Print this Post

6-7 Stanley Johnson moving to point guard, which should make him even better in college

Photo courtesy USA Basketball/Steven Maikoski

Photo courtesy USA Basketball/Steven Maikoski

By LARRY VAUGHT

He’s 6-7, has led his team to three straight California state championships, has had success with Team USA and has narrowed his college choices to Kentucky, Oregon, Southern Cal, Arizona and Florida.

Stanley Johnson of Santa Ana Mater Dei is one of the top prospects in the 2014 recruiting class because of his perimeter skills and a likely one-and-done player in college as a wing player. However, he’ll play point guard this season for his high school team.

That’s right. A 6-7 point guard.

“He’s a four-year starter for us, so I have seen him develop,” Santa Ana Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight said. “He’s handling the ball a lot better and his outside shot just keeps getting better. He really worked on parts of his game during the summer that he needed to. He is also extremely intelligent along with being a good player.

“That’s why he’ll be playing point guard for us this year. We have some big players, but he has so much versatility and such great skills. It should help us and just make him even better in college.”

How talented is his tea? Rex Pflueger, a 6-6 junior guard, has offers from several Pac-12 schools. Sophomore M.J. Cage, who is 6-9, has a scholarship offer from Kentucky. Jayce Johnson, a 6-11 sophomore, is a big-time rebounder. And there is 6-6 Mario Soto.

Still, Johnson, the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register Player of the Year last season, is the team’s star. Make no mistake about that. He spent last weekend in Colorado working out with Team USA.

“I think that is quite an honor for him. He played two summers ago when they won a gold medal and enjoyed it,” McKnight said. “He had a great summer overall. He played with us about half the summer and did a great job when he wasn’t going across the country playing.”

He’ll be coming to UK for his official visit on Big Blue Madness weekend.

“He has the grades and talent to go anywhere he wants,” McKnight said. “We’ll see how everything works out.”

McKnight calls Kentucky coach John Calipari a “really, really nice guy and very good recruiter” who has pursued Johnson hard.

“Stanley is still just looking. He is very intelligent. You can’t con him. He knows who you have, what offense you run, who might be on the roster, who he might attract with him or who he may want to play with,” McKnight said.

McKnight said there still is no clear time when Johnson might make his college choice. He said the “last I heard” was during the Spalding Hoophall Classic Jan. 16-20 in Springfield, Mass. That’s one of the nation’s top prep events and will include top 10 players Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young High School/Chicago, IL), Cliff Alexander (Curie High School/Chicago, IL), Emmanuel Mudiay (Prime Prep Academy/Dallas, TX), Karl Towns Jr. (St. Joseph High School/Mutuchen, NJ), Kelly Oubre (Findlay Prep/Henderson, NV) and Johnson. Towns is a UK commit while Okafor and Oubre have been UK targets but Oubre is now committed to Kansas — and that makes Johnson even more of a priority for UK.

“He won’t rush a decision,” McKnight said. “If somebody calls and says he has to make a decision, then he has told me to drop them from the list. But you just don’t know. He may go down to Big Blue Madness and get blown away and commit right then. You just never know.

“I think he is getting tired of the phone calls and not being able to function normally at times. Cutting his list down to five makes for some sanity, but until you go through this, you just don’t know. You think you will love it, but after a while the attention, the calls, the pressure wears you out.”

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/6-7-stanley-johnson-moving-to-point-guard-which-should-make-him-even-better-in-college/

5 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. Larry T Clemons

    Would love to see a 6′ 7″ Point Guard @ Kentucky… imagine, W/Towns at Forward.

  2. Little Baron

    Absolutely my thoughts too! Sounds like he will be capable of playing the 1, 2 or 3 in college, which sure adds some versatility to his profile. Ready for another top player or 2 to commit in the near future, but if its January or next spring we all know Calipari has been there and done that, too.

    Right now we know we have Ulis, Hawkins, Willis & Towns -
    since anywhere up to 8 FR & Sophs potential lottery &/or 1st round picks. Surely some recruits are considering the possibility that some of those 8 will return. I’m happy if 8 go 1st Round (because of #9 in the rafters, & maybe 40-0 record) and also happy if some (1, 2, 3 or 8) return, because they want to win 2, 3 or 4 Titles in a row!

    We will be fine. Five years of unparalleled recruiting with an E8, 2 FFs & a Title – plus one Title penciled in by many experts – is proof enough we will be fine!

  3. Larry T Clemons

    We lost 2 point guard recruits recently,(don’t think we wanted them anyway)….Looks like to me Coach Cal may have whispered in SJ ear about trying to improve his Point Guard Skills, to become a better all around player and to fill a need at UK…..With this versatility, Stanley Johnson’s upside for the First Round in the NBA Draft, becomes Top 10. IMO.

    1. Little Baron

      Interesting thought… & sounds very possible. Midnight Madness or soon after, is when I expect him to name UK.

      Interesting how some that Calipari did not recruit or did not land, ended up being trouble cases or non-team players. In 5 recruiting classes with loads of stars we have only had one player who had a negative impact on the team – that’s impressive considering they were individual stars when they arrived. Cali

    2. Little Baron

      Interesting thought… & sounds very possible. Midnight Madness or soon after, is when I expect him to name UK.

      Interesting how some that Calipari did not recruit or did not land, ended up being trouble cases or non-team players. In 5 recruiting classes with loads of stars we have only had one player who had a negative impact on the team – that’s impressive considering they were individual stars when they arrived. Calipari & staff sure know how to “screen” & analyze them.

Comments have been disabled.