During Sean Miller’s tenure at Arizona, the program’s annually been in the running for many of the nation’s top recruits and they’ve landed their fair share. On Friday the Wildcats received a verbal commitment from one of the best players in the class, as Mater Dei HS (Calif.) wing Stanley Johnson announced his decision to attend the Pac-12 school on national television.
Johnson, a consensus Top 10 player, was also considering Kentucky and USC before making his decision official. He becomes the fourth commitment in the 2014 class for Arizona, joining guards Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Kadeem Allen (JUCO) and forward Craig Victor.
As a junior at Mater Dei Johnson posted averages of 19.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, and he’s been a highly valuable member of three California CIF Division I state champion squads. Johnson is the latest product of the Oakland Soldiers grassroots program to pick Arizona during Miller’s tenure. Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner were the first two, followed by Brandon Ashley and then Aaron Gordon.
If operating under the assumption that Gordon’s off to the next level at the end of this season, Johnson will certainly help the Wildcats account for that departure on the wing. Johnson’s ability to score from anywhere on the floor, along with his competitiveness and toughness, will benefit the Wildcats immediately.
And it isn’t as if the Wildcats will lack depth on the wing either, as Nick Johnson has another season of eligibility remaining and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Elliott Pitts and Gabe York all have multiple seasons remaining. Johnson would have been a game-changing recruit for Andy Enfield at USC, and had he committed to attend Kentucky an already strong class would get even stronger. But the same can be said for Arizona, with Johnson and Craig Victor anchoring one of the best recruiting classes in 2014.
This class, when combined with the players likely to return to Tucson in 2014, should be enough to keep the program entrenched atop the Pac-12 with an eye towards contending nationally as well.