By Roy & Harv Schmidt
We have to admit that we never thought we would be doing a blog on St. Rita junior guard Terrance Johnson this early in the game. However, it seems that he is currently one of the most talked about players in the class of 2009 from Illinois and the subject of considerable debate when it comes to analyzing his game. Therefore, now is as good a time as any for us to offer our thoughts.
First of all, we were not at Chicago State University this past Sunday to witness Johnson's 34 point outing in St. Rita's 72-62 loss to Von Steuben. However, we were in the gym at St. Rita last Friday night to watch Johnson's performance in St. Rita's 86-84 loss to Seton Academy. Ironically enough, Johnson transferred to St. Rita from Seton Academy prior to the start of this school year.
After Johnson's effort vs. Von Steuben, others who were in attendance at Chicago State came away raving about Johnson, with some of them throwing out scouting jargon referring to him as a "high major prospect" or "ideal mid-major prospect." In our opinion, Johnson's performance vs. Seton Academy may have been just as telling (at least for now) with respect to projecting what level he is best suited for in college.
With all of this being said, we are not yet ready to become a part of the Johnson hyperbole. At the present time, we believe that Johnson is clearly a D1 prospect, although certainly not at the high major level and we even have questions as far as being a mid-major is concerned. We currently project him as being anywhere in the low to mid-major range.
There is no question that Johnson can score. In fact, that is the strongest element of his game. However, one needs to look at how he scores the majority of his points, which come mostly in transition and by getting into the lane and either hitting short pull-up jumpers or finishing with strong drives to the basket. Johnson has remarkable speed and quickness which he utilizes quite well to either score points or get to the foul line.
Now the downside. While we have seen Johnson listed at various heights, right now we believe that he is no bigger than 5'11. Not only that, but he is much more of a 2-guard as opposed to a point guard. This can be evidenced by the fact that Johnson had one assist in the Seton Academy game. We also still have to question Johnson's consistency with respect to his shooting range, as he only converted one three-pointer, shooting 1-4 from beyond the arc en route to 21 points for the game vs. Seton Academy.
Don't get us wrong--we believe that Johnson possesses enough ability in several key areas to possibly become an even better player down the road. However, we also have to go on the basis of what we see right now. We have talked to a couple of high school coaches whose teams have already played against Johnson and interestingly enough both of them pretty much concur with our current level of projection. Recruiting-wise, Johnson has been offered a scholarship by Baylor and is receiving heavy interest from Harvard and several others.
While we believe that Johnson probably does rank among the top 15-20 juniors in Illinois, that does not automatically equate with where he projects as far as a college prospect is concerned. The bottom line is that it still may be a bit too early to tell. Rarely do we talk about 5'11 underclass guards in terms of potential, as that is a tag we usually reserve for big men. However, in Johnson's case we feel that it is most applicable. Therefore, let's hold off from jumping on the bandwagon just now and see how he continues to progress.