Nick Johnson picks Arizona
By bringing in ESPNU 100 shooting guard Nick Johnson (Gilbert, Ariz./Findlay Prep) to go along with fellowESPNU 100 power forward Sidiki Johnson (Bronx, N.Y./Oak Hill), Arizona coach Sean Miller has already put together an outstanding 1-2 punch in the 2011 class.
“The intensity of my recruiting really picked up over the summer, so I wanted to end it,” said Nick Johnson. “When I told my mom and dad they were very supportive with my decision, so me, my mom and brother drove over to campus and surprised Coach Miller to tell him I was coming. Coach Miller and staff have been on me since the moment they arrived at UA. They really recruited me hard.”
Nick is a strong and physical perimeter player who is extremely athletic and always seems to be in attack mode. He can do it all and is a matchup nightmare. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder is excellent driving to the basket, a comfortable jump-shooter with 3-point range, excellent in transition and a tenacious defender.
What stands out about the No. 8-ranked shooting guard in the country is that he has the ability to grab a defensive rebound, push it ahead and look to score or find an open teammate. He is one of the best finishers in the country thanks to his toughness and ability to finish at the rim, along with the talent to pull up and shoot from 3 in transition. He also has point guard attributes and always seems to make the right decision. Plus, he’s fantastic coming off ball screens — scoring or creating — and will be prevalent in the Wildcats’ pick-and-roll game.
While he’s always a hard-nosed player and competes on both ends of the floor, Nick takes pride in locking up his opponent and blocking shots. He will thrive in Miller’s man-to-man scheme and often cover the opponent’s best player.
With both Johnsons, Miller is bringing in two impact players. However, Nick is a little more developed at this point, thanks to his playing time at Findlay Prep with coach Mike Peck, who has done a tremendous job developing Nick’s perimeter game.
“That’s the main reason I went to Findlay Prep, to play against the best and prepare myself for big-time college basketball,” said Nick Johnson, who will become one of the Wildcats’ best recruiters. “I will be talking to [Drew Gooden Oakland Soldiers teammates] Josiah Turner (Sacramento, Calif./Sacramento) and Brandon Ashley (Oakland, Calif./Bishop O’Dowd) to have them come to UA with me.”
When you look at the stellar job Miller and his staff have done in recruiting since they took over in 2009, you can’t help but be impressed.
Paul Biancardi, who has been a head coach and assistant on NCAA tournament teams, is the national director of basketball recruiting.