Stanley Johnson talks "new" Duke interest

Stanley Johnson

One of the more recent additions to the recruiting board is a five star combo forward from California with a reputation as a dynamite rebounder. TDD spoke with Stanley Johnson this weekend in Hampton to get the latest on where his recruiting process stands.

Can you provide a quick update on your recruiting process?

Stanley Johnson: Well, there's only one school that's really new, and it's really tough right now because a lot of schools are trying to get back in the mix with me. My official list is Oregon, Kentucky, UCLA, USC, Arizona, Florida, and Duke. Those are the ones I believe are the best option for me as a player.

Is Duke the new school on that list?

Yes, they are. They have been recruiting me a lot harder the last month or two, but they had previously recruited me when I was a freshman, and then again as a sophomore they started again. Then I decided to let them go then but now they are starting to recruit me some more and harder so I'm taking a serious look at them.

What made you want to take them off your list earlier?

My coach -- my high school coach -- was talking with me and now they feel like they really want me and are back to recruiting me again. It's a good thing for me, I've got interest in them to see what they say.

Who has been recruiting you from the Duke staff?

Coach Wojo and Coach Nate James have been recruiting me the hardest.

What's their pitch been so far?

There's not a whole lot that really needs to be said, you know? They are one of the best programs ever in college basketball, but they have been talking with me about how they feel I can be an impact player with my defensive ability and my ability to drive to the basket, and how intense I am as a player. Yhey think I'm an impact freshman and that they think I could be a great player in Cameron Indoor.

How have you reacted to the Duke pitch?

It's just a normal pitch, really. The important thing now is getting on campus for a visit, and check things out. Every school says the same thing so what matters is when I go to campus and get a feel for it.

Does your recruiting process have a leader at this point?

There's no clear leader. With Kentucky, they have the most media attention on them, so they are the most out there. There's no leader right now at all though. I haven't been on any campuses yet, and I haven't talked with anybody on campus yet. I talk with the coaches all the time, but there's no leader right now.

What is your timeframe moving towards in terms of a decision?

I'm not even close to being able to make one because I don't want to make a decision until I can get on campus and see the different schools officially. When I start getting closer to the end, and once I get done with my official visits and I take my last official visit, that's when I want to make my decision so that it's fresh in my mind.

I've only visited one school that really counts now unofficially and that's Arizona. I had visited UCLA and USC, but those schools had their coaches fired, so those visits don't really matter now.

Are you lining up any unofficial visits for spring or summer?

Not officially. I'm not sure if I'm doing any more unofficials. I may do unofficial overnights -- potentially to USC/UCLA -- but other than that, it'll probably just be officials.

How's the relationship building going with the new staffs at UCLA and USC?

It's good, they have coaches there that recruited me before at other schools, so they have great people there and great systems, they might be good options for me.

Every player evaluates programs differently--what's the things you look at that are important to you?

Man, every school is so different but fits my style in a way. I think I can go to any school and make an impact that's on my list because I can rebound and play defense and anybody can stay on the court with that.

For me, I just want to go where its a good fit for me as a player and I want to go to the best schools and I feel like my list is the best schools for me.

How much are you evaluating the depth chart and recruiting classes at schools in your consideration?

It's something you take into consideration, but most of the schools recruiting me…I feel like I'm a top priority for them. I really feel like I could play at any of the programs on my list and that I could go get minutes. I'm not really worried about who is there or who is coming in. I feel confident I can compete for minutes at any school.

Who is helping you with the recruiting process?

It's really a lot of people because it takes a village to raise a child, you know? It's anybody that will share helpful tidbits with me: my parents, my high school coaches, my AAU coaches, anybody who can help me I'm open to hear. But at the end of the day, it's going to be what's in my heart that I'll make a decision on. It's helpful to hear from other people, but I'm the one who has to live with my decision, so it'll be me deciding where I go.

Going back to Duke--how frequently is the communication with Coach Wojo and Coach James?

It's been very frequent. Every week Coach James hits me up and we talk about the school. They've been doing a really good job, because a month or so ago they weren't on my list and now they are on it.

What made you put Duke back on the list-what did they say?

It wasn't that they didn't have interest it was more I wasn't sure if it was a right spot for me. But then I watched them this year and they called me for the third time and they are telling me they really need me. So now that they are telling me that, I'm really interested in what they have to say. At first, they didn't recruit me hard when I was younger, so now we're going to see where things are.

What did you notice from watching them play this year?

Mainly it was Rasheed Sulaimon's role. The way he pushed the ball, they way they played fast, pick and rolls, move the ball in half court sets…it was good to see how they played this year. They were up and down the court which is how i want to play in college, and seeing them play made them look bright in my eyes, as well as what they explained to me so far about their system.

What was it that "brightened your eyes" from what you saw and heard?

It was Rasheed a lot. It was great to see him get the rebound and just go out in transition and get to the rim or create shots, they had a really good structure of up tempo and half court which is what I do with the Soldiers and with Mater Dei. I understand what they are selling me because they tell me watch this with Rasheed and what they said was true.

The Duke roster looks to be really different for this upcoming season, how much are you looking at that?

I think they will be even more faster and I think Jabari can play the four, but I'm not sure who their big will be yet. Jabari is really a 3/4, but he can play both spots and he can push it, Matt Jones can push it, so they will push it even more. I'm really looking forward to seeing. In a system like that, it's a good one for me because if you have guys that can drive, that creates shots and lanes for shooters.

Has Coach Wojo or Coach James indicated that Coach K might be calling soon?

Yeah, they have. I haven't had a chance to talk with him yet, but I've talked with him before, like when I was a sophomore. It's good, andI understand where he's at. I'm just focusing on getting to campus and getting a look because they've said everything they need to say already to get me on campus, now it's important to get on campus like with other schools and get a feel for it.

Do you know any schools for sure you want to visit officially?

Oh yes, UCLA and USC are going to be unofficial overnight visits so I can go up there on my own money and then the rest of the five on my list will be officials.

Are there projected dates for the visits?

I'm going to try and do them in the Fall so I can try and make a decision before my season starts. I don't want to do visits during the season. If i don't have a decision by then, I can wait until the spring period, and take more visits after my season is completed and make my decision then.

Sounds like you are not automatically going to decide in the early signing period--is that accurate?

Yeah, that's right, those are the reasons why the offers are there because if the offers aren't there if something happens, i still have 6 great schools on my list that i can pick from.

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