Just when you thought Syracuse was done after landing Rochester PF Chino Obokoh Monday, less than 24 hours later the Orange reeled in its third 2013 commit. BJ Johnson, an Ardmore, Pennsylvania native and three-star small forward, tells The Fizz he envisioned himself in an Orange uniform back in middle school.
“I’m excited, with Syracuse being my dream school, and then them offering me and me committing is pretty much a no-brainer. It’s unexplainable. While I was in like 6th or 7th grade, I was always going to be Orange. When I got on campus, everyone around there, coaches, players, [and] students made me feel at home.”
Johnson narrowed his final decision to SU, Villanova, Temple, or Rutgers.
The 6’7” 185 lb. lengthy forward was also in attendance at Friday’s Orange Madness. BJ says it was beyond what he expected:
“It was amazing. I’ve been to a lot of college games, but I don’t think that compares.”
Thankfully the stabbing at the Carrier Dome didn’t affect Orange recruits, since BJ and Obokoh both loved the experience and committed just days after. At Lower Merion High School last year, Johnson averaged 15.8 points in helping lead his squad to a 29-4 record and the PIAA Class AAAA state final. He was an Inquirer second-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection. The Fizz had BJ describe his game.
“I can shoot the ball very well, but not only that, I can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim if needed. I’m pretty versatile.”
His length definitely poses a threat to small forwards across the nation, not just offensively, but on the defensive end. The versatility is absolutely there. But why did Johnson decide so quickly? There’s one Syracuse coach in particular that’s been keeping close tabs with him:
“I have a great relationship with [Coach] Autry. We’ve been talking for a while. He thought an offer was coming soon, but when Boeheim came to watch me practice, he actually offered. The way he did it was really unsure, so I would’ve probably committed earlier. We talk almost every day. He has a litte sense of humor, so he always keeps me going.”
Autry at it again on the recruiting front. Let’s remember Red took nothing for granted when Syracuse’s first commit Tyler Ennis decided Orange. Big programs jumped into the mix for Ennis, and the very same could have occurred with both Johnson and Obokoh. Boeheim has the final say, so what does The Per’fesser think of BJ’s game?
“He said I could probably stretch the defense out a lot with my shooting ability, and on defense with his zone [because] I’m long. He thought that was a good fit.”
Sounds like another C.J. Fair. At 6’7” and his gifted left-handed shooting range, Johnson strongly resembles SU’s probable starting forward. It’s such a classic Boeheim player: a guy who fits the zone, but more importantly can open up the floor. Syracuse fans have yet to see the best from Fair, but look out because his predecessor could be right behind him in Johnson. Current and some former Orange alum reached out to BJ about playing for a HOFer.
“Yeah definitely. I heard a lot of good things about him, from Rakeem [Christmas], Dion [Waiters] and Scoop [Jardine], and then everybody else up at ‘Cuse sounds great about him.
Philly guys jumping in on recruiting Johnson. How can Johnson not admire that? No surprise Rak Christmas gave him his word, but for two former standouts in DW3 and Scoop to also give advice is just awesome. It really speaks to the validity of SU’s basketball community staying toogether as a family.
Johnson is so pumped to rep Orange that when the ACC-opportunity conversation started, it felt like we were talking to a college senior-veteran:
“We’re definitely going to have to adjust. I think that’s going to make us work even harder because in the ACC, it’s not like you can take a couple days off to be successful so you got to work hard, day-in and day-out.”
The recruiting machine keeps on churning. Syracuse lands two more commits in a brief span of time. Pretty impressive stuff, and more could come once practices start to heat up and exhibition play soon begins.
Posted: Brendan Glasheen