Tag:Brice Johnson
Posted on: October 26, 2011 9:12 am

Brice Johnson announces for North Carolina

By Jeff Borzello

Brice Johnson played his recruitment close to the vest the entire time, not giving out too many hints or bringing too much attention upon himself.

It ended in similar fashion, with a simple tweet on Wednesday morning.

“I will be a UNC Tar Heel,” Johnson tweeted. “Thanks for all the support…..#TarHeel Nation.”

Johnson chose North Carolina over Florida and North Carolina State, with Clemson also in the mix down the stretch.

Prior to the summer, Clemson and South Carolina were two of the only high-major schools in contention for Johnson’s services. However, after his breakout performance at the Peach Jam in July, several ACC and SEC schools came knocking at his door. Johnson took three official visits, to North Carolina, Florida and NC State, deciding to announce his commitment prior to his Clemson trip.

Johnson, ranked No. 29 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100, is a long and athletic big man who blocks shots as well as anyone in the class and can run the floor very well. He improved his face-up game during the summer, and had one high-major head coach calling him a future lottery pick.

He joins Marcus Paige, J.P. Tokoto and Joel James in North Carolina’s 2012 class.

Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2011 4:19 pm

Two schools on top for Brice Johnson

UPDATE: Story has been updated to reflect the latest in Brice Johnson's recruitment. The original story had NC State and Florida as his two favorites, but Johnson just texted to say that he made a mistake -- it's UNC and Florida at the top.

Jeff Borzello

It’s been an interesting few months for Brice Johnson and his recruitment.

He missed a chance to boost his stock at the NBPA Top 100 camp in June when he suffered a concussion early in the event and had to sit out the rest of the event. But he certainly bounced back at the Peach Jam in July, dominating every opponent in front of college coaches from across the country. Averaging 4.2 blocks per game and shooting nearly 82 percent from the field spurred one high-major head coach to call him a future lottery pick.

Johnson went from a player who might have been leaning towards staying in-state and going to Clemson or South Carolina to one with offers from North Carolina, Ohio State, Connecticut and Florida.

So far, the 6-foot-9 power forward from Edisto (S.C.) has taken official visits to North Carolina State, North Carolina and Florida, with one to Clemson still on the way.

A pair of schools is standing out among his final four: North Carolina and Florida.

“They are the top two,” Johnson said.

We will soon find out where the No. 29 prospect in the country will end up, as Johnson plans to make a decision soon.

 “Sometime this month,” he said.

Posted on: August 11, 2011 4:17 pm

Top 100 Analysis: Questions and Answers

By Jeff Borzello

The reaction of fans is always one of the best parts of putting out player rankings. Since the concept of ranking high school prospects is completely subjective and up for debate, there is plenty of room for discussion when it comes to certain rankings. As a result, we sent out a few tweets looking for questions and reactions to the rankings. Then, we chose 15 or so that encompassed different players, teams and regions. If you were left out, ask me on Twitter @jeffborzello and I’ll answer there. Thanks!

What do you like about Jarnell Stokes over Anthony Bennett?

To me, Stokes (above) is one of the best low-post scorers in the class. He has a great body and uses his strength to finish through contact on a consistent basis. He is also a great rebounder and is improving his face-up game. Bennett shot up the rankings in the spring and summer, but I still like Stokes because of his consistency.

How does Kareem Canty fall out of the top 100?

While Canty is extremely quick and very difficult to defend, he lacks the leadership gene that elite point guards need. He sometimes makes poor decisions and turns the ball over too often. Moreover, while he is tough to stay in front of offensively, he also struggles to guard opposing point guards. His injury at NBA Camp probably didn’t help him, either.

Grant Jerrett No. 30? Was wondering what he did to drop that far.

Jerrett (right) didn’t drop that far – he was No. 22 in the pre-July rankings. He is very effective offensively, but he struggles at times to finish through contact and does get pushed around in the paint. That’s not to say he’s a bad player, though: Jerrett is still one of the best frontcourt players in the country and is going to make a big-time impact at the next level.

Steven Adams dominated at Adidas Nations. Where is he?

We only rank players that are at high schools in the United States. Word has it that Adams will attend Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) this fall, so we will get a chance to see him in November and December and will adjust for our January rankings accordingly.

How much do you factor attitude into the rankings?

Depends on the player, and how severe the attitude problem is. If he constantly berates teammates or referees to the point that it affects his game or his teammates’ games, then it will factor more into his ranking. If it’s more of a competitive streak that sometimes goes over the line, then it will be less of a factor.

What’s the Tyler Lewis fascination?

Well, Lewis did drop 21 spots, so I’m not sure there’s a fascination. But Lewis is outstanding offensively, and doesn’t back down from anyone despite his size. He has great handle and is adept at getting his shot off against any defender. Lewis has the confidence and quickness to make consistently make plays in transition or in a half-court setting.

What’s your reasoning for Brice Johnson being so high?

Johnson was unbelievable at the Peach Jam in mid-July. One high-major head coach sitting next to me thought he was a future lottery pick. Johnson isn’t great in his back-to-the-basket game, but no one’s asking him to be the next Hakeem Olajuwon. He has a very good mid-range game, and is excellent in transition. His potential is through the roof.

Marcus Paige is the No. 1 point guard for most services; why low for you, especially with performance on his bum ankle this summer?

We don’t have Paige that low – he’s the No. 3 point guard in our rankings and only six spots lower in the overall rankings than our No. 1 point guard, Kris Dunn. It’s not a knock on Paige. We just feel Dunn is more explosive and Yogi Ferrell has the potential to take over a game offensively. Paige is a great playmaker and point guard, and he will make an impact at North Carolina.

I know Butler commit Chris Harrison-Docks was in the MaxPreps Top 100 at one point. What caused him to fall out?

I’m honestly not sure when Harrison-Docks was in the Top 100, but he’s still a solid pick-up for Brad Stevens. He is a big-time competitor who doesn’t mind talking trash to opponents. He plays off his confidence, and can get hot from 3-point range when he is feeling it. His fearlessness is his biggest asset – and biggest weakness.

Rosco Allen No. 83? Seriously? Seen him play lately?

Yes, we have seen Allen lately. To us, he still needs to expand his game beyond being a 6-foot-8 outside shooter. He is not that strong or quick, and isn’t very effective playing in the paint. On the other hand, because of his size and perimeter ability, he is a match-up problem for most opponents.

So how is that Butler still can’t land a Top 100 guy?

I don’t think Brad Stevens’ goal is to land top-100 players. He goes for players that will fit into the Butler system, and he lands most of the players that he truly targets. Also, many of the players he gets are in the 125-175 region. Kellen Dunham and Chris Harrison-Docks are both very good guards – albeit with completely different personalities.

What are the chances of Maryland landing Mitch McGary?

Since the second part of this question said I couldn’t say “one out of six,” I’ll choose something else. For most of June, McGary constantly said that Maryland was coming at him the hardest – in fact, the Terrapins were one of the few colleges he would actually name. Obviously, Maryland was named into his final six, and he has already visited the school. Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke are likely to get visits soon, so we will have a better idea of where McGary stands in a couple of weeks.

Why the fall for J.P. Tokoto? I know he had a down 2010 summer but what’s the deal now? Has he actually regressed or is it just the overall quiet summer he’s had?

Received multiple questions about Tokoto. The bottom line is that players have simply caught up to him, and he hasn’t improved. Tokoto still has great athleticism and can get to the rim and finish, but he is struggling to expand his game. He lacks strength and is not a good enough ball-handler to play the point guard position full-time. Moreover, his outside shot is inconsistent, enabling defenders to play off of him. The length, athleticism and natural talent is there – but he needs to work on his weaknesses.

I was just wondering where you rank Fred Van Vleet, the point guard out of Illinois?

Van Vleet, who committed to Wichita State before the live period, had a great July. He is an absolute steal for the Shockers, as he definitely rose up the pecking order of point guards with his play during the month. Van Vleet isn’t going to blow you away with his quickness, but he gets into the teeth of the defense and creates shots for himself and teammates.

Curious to hear your thoughts on Josh Scott of Colorado. He seems to be a fast riser. Is CU getting a steal with him?

Scott is an interesting case. When we saw him at the Tournament of Champions in May, he was excellent. However, at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, he struggled mightily in nearly every game. In July, though, he was back to the form that made people so high on him in the spring. The fact is, Scott is a different player with his AAU team and is tough to evaluate in a camp setting. He scores very well around the rim and makes smart decisions in the post. Scott, along with Wesley Gordon, is a very good pickup for the Buffaloes.

Photos: Point Guard U, Cali High, ESPN

Posted on: August 11, 2011 1:53 pm

Top 100 analysis: Who's up, who's down?

By Jeff Borzello

July is normally the most important month when it comes to determining where a player ends up in the recruiting rankings. The high school season has inconsistent levels of competition, while the spring AAU circuit has so many events that players can go up and down with every week. On the other hand, July is a chance for every player to be seen multiple times in a three-week span, against the other top players in the country – in game settings. The NBPA Top 100, Nike Skills Academies and Pangos All-American Camp all gather tremendous amounts of talent, but it’s often difficult to truly scout a player in a camp setting. As a result, the evaluations made in July are often the ones that stick for the rest of the year.

CBSSports.com and MaxPreps released their updated Top-100 rankings for 2012 on Thursday morning, and there are plenty of changes since the pre-July rankings. Which players increased their stock the most in July, and which ones went the same direction as the real stock market?


Marcus Smart (No. 12): The ultimate winner, Smart (above) can play any perimeter position and is a terrific defender.

Kris Dunn (No. 26): Dunn (right) moved up to become the No. 1 point guard in the country after yet another impressive month.

Brice Johnson (No. 29): Johnson really broke out at the Peach Jam, demonstrating a vastly improved offensive game.

Alex Caruso (No. 55): One of the breakout players of June, Caruso is surprisingly athletic and excels at scoring in unconventional ways.

Jake Layman (No. 57): He’s long, athletic and can score in a variety of ways. Layman creates havoc with his perimeter defense.

Georges Niang (No. 70): Niang has always been productive, and it was finally time to reward him with a top-100 spot.

Semaj Christon (No. 80): The Xavier-commit won over all onlookers in July, demonstrating his excellent penetration ability.

Dominic Artis (No. 84): Artis, who committed to UCLA in late July, has terrific handle and knocked down threes with consistency.

Josh Scott (No. 86): The bottom line is that Scott is a different player with his AAU team; he scores effectively around the rim.

Grant Verhoeven (No. 91): Our first look at Verhoeven was a good one. He blocks shots very well, and can score in different ways.

Jordan Loveridge (No. 92): One of the biggest risers in Las Vegas, Loveridge is versatile and proved to be a match-up problem.

Tyrone Wallace (No. 96): A long point guard with great size (6-foot-4) for the position, Wallace has a great feel for the game.


D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (No. 39): His scoring ability is impressive, but Smith-Rivera (left) is not a true point guard and has a limited ceiling.

Adam Woodbury (No. 40): This isn’t really Woodbury’s fault – we overrated him after an MVP performance at NBA Camp.

Daniel Ochefu (No. 43): Ochefu is an excellent defender but doesn’t have much of a back-to-the-basket game. High upside, though.

Torian Graham (No. 48): Graham can fill it up with the best of them, but he doesn’t bring effort consistently and is somewhat out of control.

J.P. Tokoto (No. 66): Tokoto continues to spiral down the rankings after peaking in the top five two years ago.

Damien Wilson (No. 75): Wilson is athletic and can really defend, but he lacks the ability to create his own shot.

Tyler Lewis (No. 76): Lewis is fun to watch and doesn’t back down from everyone, but his size and lack of defense could hinder him.

Nino Jackson (No. 81): He is only 6-foot, but is more of a scorer than a point guard. Jackson also disappears from the circuit on occasion.

Steve Taylor (No. 89): It was a down summer for most Chicago prospects, to be honest, and the Marquette-commit was inconsistent.

A.J. Hammons (No. 98): It just doesn’t seem like Hammons really enjoys himself out there. Has to improve conditioning.

Fred Thomas (No. 100): Again, probably not Thomas’ fault that we saw him for the first time when he couldn’t miss from 3-point range.

Jordan Hare (Unranked): This is simply a case of not seeing him. If anyone can remember the last time Hare suited up on AAU, let us know.

Photos: Adidas Super 64, MaxPreps, Indy Star

Posted on: August 5, 2011 12:39 pm

Brice Johnson uses big July to boost recruitment


By Jeff Borzello

Brice Johnson missed out on a chance to boost his stock at the NBPA Top 100 Camp when he suffered a concussion early in the camp and had to sit out the rest of the event.

Johnson, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Edisto (S.C.), bounced back in a major way at the Peach Jam in mid-July, dominating at both ends of the floor and showcasing his game in front of coaches.

“There’s people my size here,” Johnson said at the time. “When people are 6-foot-4, I don’t play [well].”

More on Recruiting

He continued his strong play at the end of the month, staking his claim as one of the best post players in the country. One college coach said he was a future lottery pick.

“I feel like I’m one of the best,” Johnson said. “Everyone has been trying to beat me, but I just know if I play like I always do, they won’t beat me or stop me because I can beat you in a number of ways.”

He is very long and athletic, and he runs the floor like a gazelle. Johnson’s face-up jumper and back-to-the-basket game are both improving, and his potential his through the roof if he continues to develop.

Several schools are making him a priority, with North Carolina offering him earlier this week.

The Tar Heels join a long list of programs, including Florida, Ohio State, Connecticut, North Carolina State, Marquette, Clemson and South Carolina.

Johnson, ranked No. 72 in CBSSports.com's Top 100, said there are no favorites right now, with all of the schools about the same. He plans on taking visits before making a decision, but he is not sure which schools will get an official from him in the fall.

“I’m just going to continue to take my time and find the best fit for me,” Johnson said.

Posted on: July 15, 2011 1:38 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2011 1:17 am
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Posted on: July 14, 2011 5:51 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 6:05 pm

Notebook: Brice Johnson opens eyes at Peach Jam

By Jeff Borzello

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – After sitting out the latter part of the NBPA Top 100 camp with a concussion, Brice Johnson came to Peach Jam looking to make up for lost time.

The 6-foot-9 power forward from Edisto (S.C.) has been one of the most impressive players the entire week, making an impact against every opponent and showcasing his game in front of coaches.

“There’s people my size here,” Johnson said of his breakout performance. “When people are 6’4”, I don’t play [well].”

Johnson said Florida, Clemson and South Carolina are making him a priority, with Ohio State also coming on strong. Connecticut has entered the fold recently.

Greg McClinton likes hometown team

Wake Forest needs to pick up big-time recruits in order to make its way back up the ACC standings. In 2013, the Demon Deacons might have one in their own backyard.

Greg McClinton, the No. 35-ranked player in CBSSports.com’s 2013 Top 100, is a native of Winston-Salem and attends Winston Salem Prep (N.C.).

“I always liked Wake Forest growing up,” McClinton said. “I’m from Winston Salem, so I like their team.”

While he said the Deacons might have a slight leg up on the competition, he said there is no clear favorite right now. The bouncy 6-foot-6 forward has offers from Missouri, Louisville, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Xavier, with interest pouring in from Connecticut, Georgetown and North Carolina State.

More on Recruiting

Other recruiting notes:

- 6-foot-7 forward Nick King, out of East High School (Tenn.), listed offers from Memphis, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Auburn and Georgetown. He also has interest from North Carolina, Marquette, Arizona, Miami (Fl.), Virginia Tech and Georgia.

- Diminutive guard Stevie Clark, a 5-foot-9 prospect from Douglass (Okla.), has offers from San Francisco and Marquette. Connecticut, Tulsa, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Missouri State, Tennessee, Missouri, Colorado and Penn State are all pursuing him.

- Alvin Ellis might be overshadowed by Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate on the Mean Streets’ U-16 team, but colleges know exactly who he is. The 6-foot-3 De La Salle (Ill.) product has offers from Northwestern and Tennessee, with interest from DePaul, Miami (Fl.), Florida State, Iowa, Purdue, Illinois and Providence.

- Daquein McNeil has impressed onlookers with his consistent scoring ability, getting to the rim and also knocking down outside shots. The Vermont Academy (Vt.) junior has an offer from Richmond and interest from Virginia Tech and VCU.

Posted on: July 1, 2011 10:08 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 10:25 am

Notebook: Alex Caruso continues stellar play

By Jeff Borzello

The NBPA Top 100 Camp wasn’t the first breakout opportunity for Alex Caruso.

That came a week earlier at the Pangos All-American Camp, when Caruso went from having just one offer from Sam Houston State to getting pursued by high-majors from coast to coast.

“I finally got in the public eye,” Caruso said. “The opportunity to go to Pangos and now [the NBA Camp], that was huge.”

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from A&M Consolidated School (Texas) is not content just yet, either.

“Everybody will find out eventually,” he said.

Caruso is a surprisingly athletic wing who can do a little of everything. He excels with floaters and other non-traditional finishes in the lane, and is very good when he leaves his feet in traffic. Caruso can handle the ball well and is a solid passer. He has a good jump shot and is capable of dunking in the lane or off putbacks.

“I’m a competitor naturally, so I’m trying to get stronger,” Caruso said of what he is looking to improve.

He now holds offers from Texas A&M, Arizona State, Richmond, Northern Colorado.

The entire Pac-12 outside of Washington is showing interest to Caruso, along with Boston College, Georgia Tech and Texas Tech. He also took visits to Creighton and Pepperdine recently.

While he is not ready to name a favorite, Caruso gave some hints as to which schools are standing out.

“I’m from College Station, so I like A&M,” he said. “Arizona State, Colorado, I’m intrigued.”

Shaq Cleare continues long road from Bahamas

When Shaq Cleare came over from the Bahamas three years ago, he was a clean slate.

“That’s when I really started playing basketball. I mean, I played over there, but it wasn’t organized,” Cleare said. “I was starting from scratch.”

The 6-foot-9 big man from The Village School (Texas) is now one of the best centers in the country, being pursued by Maryland, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Florida, Providence and Arizona.

“A place where I fit in,” he said of what will be factors in his decision. “A coach that is there all the time.”

Many have linked Cleare with Maryland, which he has stated in the past is his favorite. Now, though, he is open to other schools.

“They’re one of my favorites, at the same level as some others,” Cleare said. “I like all the schools.”

Elijah Macon looks outside of scoring

It’s not often you get a big man who doesn’t care about getting the ball, but that was the case with Elijah Macon at NBPA Camp.

“I’ve been working on rebounding and blocking shots," Macon said. "I’m not looking to score. You got people who want to score, be ball hogs. I’m not going to be that type of player.”

The former West Virginia commit is now listening to Miami (Fla.), Maryland, Memphis, Nebraska, South Florida, Florida State and Tennessee, in addition to the aforementioned Mountaineers.

He wants to visit Maryland and Miami this summer.

Marcus Hunt still hard at work

Despite increasing his recruitment in a major way this spring, Marcus Hunt is still anxious to get better.

“I wake up every morning at 6 a.m. and get in the gym,” Hunt said. “I get out, I run, I lift weights. I do different things.”

Hunt has offers from Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Miami (Fla.), Georgia State, East Carolina, Georgetown, VCU, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Massachusetts, UTEP, Wichita State, Tennessee, South Carolina and Memphis, with Kansas, Connecticut and Pittsburgh seemingly on the verge.

He has visits planned to Alabama, Georgia and Georgia Tech.

“Good education, good basketball program and somewhere I can come in as a freshman and play a big part,” Hunt said. “And coaching.”

Other Notes:

-- Shawn Smith, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Providence School (Fla.), is hearing from Missouri, Kansas State, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Florida State and Cincinnati. Smith recently came from Missouri and said he enjoyed his visit. “I’ll cut my list at the end of the summer,” he said.

-- Brice Johnson had his NBPA Camp experience cut short early because of a concussion. “I was playing well, and then that happened,” Johnson said. The setback hasn’t slowed his recruitment, though, as Florida, South Carolina, Clemson, Ohio State, Miami (Fla.), Florida State and Tennessee are all making a run at Johnson. He wants to visit Ohio State, Miami and Virginia Tech.

Photo: Texas Basketball Inc. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com