Five-star wing Stanley Johnson of Southern California announced he will play basketball for Arizona today, boosting the Wildcats toward a third straight powerhouse recruiting class in 2014.
Johnson announced the decision during an ESPN recruiting special today by pulling out a pair of red and blue shoes with the Arizona “A” on the tongues. He wore a dark tie and a wide smile.
“I’m a big sneaker head,” he said. “I love shoes.”
Johnson, who has been targeted by the Arizona staff since his freshman year at Mater Dei High School, chose UA over USC and Kentucky.
Arizona “coaches have been up front with me,” Johnson said. “It was the genuine nature of the coaches and the family feeling. When I was there with my parents they showed me the best.”
While Johnson is a close friend of UA freshman Aaron Gordon, his former teammate on the Oakland Soldiers travel team, he wasn't optimistic the two would play together in Tucson.
"Nah," Johnson said, laughing. "He is probably long gone."
A 6-foot-6 forward from Mater Dei High School who is rated among the Top 10 players in the class of 2014, Johnson made his announcement at an Orange County television studio, where it was relayed on ESPNU’s recruiting special. Three other Top 10 players announced on the show: Cliff Alexander, Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones.
Okafor and Jones chose Duke while Alexander opted for Kansas. Both Okafor and Alexander also considered Arizona earlier in their recruitments.
The Wildcats now have a four-player class so far in 2014, with Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College guard Kadeem Allen, Los Angeles Loyola High School guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright and New Orleans Augustine forward Craig Victor.
Victor signed his letter-of-intent on Wednesday while Allen was scheduled to today. Jackson-Cartwright said he will sign his Saturday.
Arizona coach Sean Miller said earlier this week that he expected to sign “four or five” players in the class of 2014, between the fall and spring signing periods.
The Wildcats have only three scholarships open for 2014-15 as of now but they are bracing for multiple early departures that will open up more scholarships.
Johnson is likely to become the sixth high school all-American that UA coach Sean Miller has signed in the past three recruiting classes, along with Kaleb Tarczewski, Grant Jerrett, Brandon Ashley, Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson