Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Brice Johnson commits to Tar Heels
By Dave Telep
Brice Johnson (Cordova, S.C./Edisto) became the 13th player from ESPNU 100's top 25 to make a commitment when he committed to North Carolina on Wednesday over finalists Florida, NC State and Clemson.
Ranked No. 25 in the senior class, Johnson averaged 23.0 points, 15.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks as a junior for Edisto. Last summer he went from a top-100 recruit to near the top of the power forward rankings as he was a triple-double threat on the AAU circuit.
In addition to his prowess on the basketball court, he's the reigning state champion in the high jump, long jump and triple jump. To Johnson, North Carolina represented a strong fit that he couldn't pass up.
"It was an all-around fit and it had everything that meets my standards and it's a little closer to home," Johnson said. "It has great coaching, a good system and [is] great school-wise."
During the recruiting process, Johnson said the North Carolina staff offered comparisons between himself and current Tar Heel John Henson, touching on his length, athleticism and knack for blocking shots.
"They always said that I could be like John Henson but I didn't want anyone to tell me who I could be," Johnson said. "I just wanted to be me. I want to be the best me because there's only one of me."
During his visit to campus, Johnson was struck by how UNC's players took everything in stride. He appreciated how grounded they seemed to be and related to their personalities. "I'm just a normal kid, trying to make it big. I'm still a kid. Next year I gotta grow up."
Next year, he'll have plenty of reasons to hit the weight room and grow up quickly. UNC may have early defections to the NBA draft, which means expectations for Johnson to play as a freshman could enter into the equation. Joining him in Chapel Hill are three other highly regarded ESPNU 100 players: point guard Marcus Paige (Marion, Iowa/Linn-Marr), center Joel James (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Dwyer) and small forward J.P. Tokoto (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls).
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter.