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Update: Johnson remains undecided between Alabama, Marquette

JaJuan Johnson would be Marquette’s fifth commitment in the 2013 recruiting class. (via Rivals.com)

According to a source close to the situation, JaJuan Johnson has not made a decision between Marquette and Alabama and is still undecided. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard will announce his decision tomorrow afternoon. Alabama is still considered the favorite, but that same source said Johnson is split 50-50 on the two schools.

This refutes an earlier report from 247Sports’ Jerry Meyer today that said Johnson’s mind had changed and was “expected to pick Marquette.”

Johnson, a 6-foot-4 guard from Memphis (Southwind H.S., Tenn.), will choose between Marquette and Alabama after recently taking Miami off his list.

The nephew of Atlanta Hawks guard Lou Williams, Johnson visited Miami on Sept. 15 and Alabama on Sept. 29, and he cancelled an official visit to Texas before his visit to Milwaukee.

Guided by 2013 commitment Duane Wilson, Johnson arrived on Marquette’s campus and watched Marquette Madness the weekend of Oct. 12.

Wilson said he formed a friendship with Johnson, perhaps after the pair attended the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas over the summer. Wilson said the two text back and forth twice a week.

Williams and assistant Isaac Chew made Johnson a priority this summer.

Ranked No. 31 overall by Scout, No. 45 by Rivals and No. 62 by ESPN, Johnson is a slasher with excellent size who can score in a variety of ways. He’s a bit of a project who’s still growing into his game, but with a year of high school play and a summer at Marquette, he could be an instant contributor for Williams.

He wouldn’t play point guard like a few of Marquette prospects would have, but with the commitment of 2013 point guard John Dawson that became less of a need. Also, Johnson fits the mold of a “2-3” switchable in Buzz Williams’ offense, similar to that of a Vander Blue or Darius Johnson-Odom.

His recruitment has been a difficult one to read, as Louisville and Texas were once considered favorites. Johnson said in a June interview he had hoped Duke and/or North Carolina would offer. He said he also had interest from Georgetown and Kentucky in that June interview.

Marquette’s scholarship situation for the 2013 class is still unclear, as Chris Otule’s sixth year status has not been decided and Jake Thomas is on scholarship this season.

Should Otule return and Thomas receive a 2013 scholarship, Marquette would sit at 14 scholarships, one past the limit of 13, not including Johnson’s potential commitment.

Here’s what we said last week regarding Johnson’s standing with Marquette:

Marquette: There’s no denying that, of the three schools on Johnson’s list, the Golden Eagles have enjoyed the most recent successes. Sweet 16 appearances the last two seasons have put Buzz Williams’ program on the national recruiting stage, as seen by his past two classes. Also helping Marquette’s cause is that it is the only school of the three with an emphasis on college basketball, as Johnson noted, “The atmosphere was crazy because it’s a basketball town.”

For now, point guard Junior Cadougan is the only senior leaving after next season. Center Chris Otule’s status for his sixth season has not been decided, though the Journal Sentinel’s Michael Hunt reported yesterday Otule will have that option. While Vander Blue, Todd Mayo and Jamal Ferguson will be around at shooting guard Johnson’s freshman season, the 2013 guard’s versatility as a “switchable” in a three-guard offense should allow him immediate playing time.

Johnson would join a recruiting class missing one piece: a scoring two-guard. Point guard Duane Wilson, small forward Deonte Burton and junior college power forward Jameel McKay are on board, but a pure scorer in Johnson would complete the class that would move into the consensus top-5. Marquette has long been after a scoring guard, specifically missing out on Kendrick Nunn, so there’s good reason for Johnson to be a top priority for the Golden Eagles.

If pace of play is what Johnson is after, Marquette fits the bill. As Buzz Williams continues to build the roster he covets, Marquette’s pace has increased thanks to his emphasis on fast-break offense. Last year the Golden Eagles played the 16th fastest pace in the country, up from 129th in 2010-2011. And while Marquette loves to run, it also stresses a half-court offense based on the perimeter. It’s hard to find a player who won’t fit in Williams’ offense, but Johnson’s pure athleticism (run ‘n gun) and outside shooting (half court) would fit well.

One difference to note between Johnson’s visit to Marquette and Alabama is technique used by fellow recruits. Johnson said on his trip to Milwaukee the 2013 class was more active and “the whole time they were trying to get me to come down there [and commit],” according to Zagoria.

At Alabama, Johnson said “it wasn’t a ton of pressure for me to come in. They just told me what it’s like being on campus. Basically they just showed me a good time.”

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Categories: Home, Offseason, Recruiting

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One Comment on “Update: Johnson remains undecided between Alabama, Marquette”

  1. Wade for President
    November 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Am I missing something? Isn’t Johnson #63 on Rivals list?!?

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