Darius Johnson, a six foot guard from Virginia in the 2021 recruiting class, has named the Providence Friars among his final three schools, along with Alabama and UCF.
First of all, I feel like because I’m used to the Tipton edits for most of the cut lists and commitments from High School basketball players these days, I’m really digging the picture that Johnson used to announce his final three schools. The only thing that I might want to change is the placement of the Alabama logo because it looks like it’s censoring Nate Oats’ junk. I don’t know exactly why I felt that I needed to say that, but it was the first thing that popped into my head after my mini-celebration on the Friars making the cut list.
Johnson has three really good coaches to choose from and I confidently classify all three of them as player-coaches who thrive on personal connections with their players. Ed Cooley…obviously. Nate Oats was getting big time players to commit to subzero Buffalo before heading to Alabama. And Johnny Dawkins is a former player who appeared to be the good cop in the Duke coaching dynamic while he was an assistant, to Coach K’s bad cop.
Johnson would be a very good start for Ed Cooley and the Friars to finally crack into the 2021 class. Johnson has logo-type range, willing to pull up from anywhere as soon as he crosses half court. He has a quick first step, allowing him to get past his initial defender and is creative and shifty during his drives to the basket, inviting contact which he is adept at finishing through. I really like the way he changes direction in small spaces when taking the ball to the basket, finishing with either hand when he gets to the rim. But, that range. That’s the aspect of his game that jumps right out of the highlights to me.
You have to have a high level of confidence in your shot-making abilities in order to pull up from that type of distance. You can tell that Johnson has been working on his step back three, and it looks to be coming along nicely, but it’s the side-step three that looks like the move that more suits his style of play at the moment. That’s a move that will help him create at the next level right away with its ability to create space. It’s very Jason Tatum-esque…
Johnson averaged 20.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.6 apg, & 2.0 spg in 25 games for his Junior at Episcopal in Alexandria, Virginia. Nate Watson is the only player still on the PC basketball team from Virginia (Portsmouth) but former players Maliek White (Richmond, Virgina), Rodney Bullock (Hampton, Virginia), & Josh Fortune (Hampton, Virginia) were all from Virginia as well. If you want to open it up to the DMV (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia) area, then Drew Edwards (MD), Jared Bynum (MD), Quadree Smith (MD), & Ben Bentil (DE – Prep) are from the area as well. That kind of recruiting presence, and success of those players, does not go unnoticed by High School players around those parts.
The main thing that gives me second thoughts that Darius Johnson might head down to the Sunshine State is the fact that Johnson’s father, Kelvin Johnson, has served as UCF’s Director of Player Development since June 2017 under head coach Johnny Dawkins. I’m hoping that doesn’t sway Darius’ decision but who knows?
Darius Johnson is ranked as the No. 33 point guard in the country and the No. 6 overall prospect in the state of Virginia for the 2021 recruiting class, per 247sports. He is the currently 204th overall recruit in the 2021 class but I definitely think he’s heading upwards in the next rankings that come out. There is no way that he is not at least 75 to 150 spots higher than 204th.
That first step tho. Blow By City.
His body already looks more ready for the College game in just a short period of time and his proficiency at the dish looks effortless. His ability to finish at the iron is crazy good.