Future Wildcat Stanley Johnson named national Player of the Year
There are still six months left until the Arizona Wildcats tip off the 2014-15 basketball season, but the defending Pac-12 Conference champions are already receiving praise for their upcoming season.
On Tuesday, MaxPreps.com, an affiliate of CBSsports.com, named the Wildcats’ class of 2014 recruit and signee Stanley Johnson the national Player of the Year.
The award is the icing on the cake for the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Stanley Johnson, a senior at Mater Dei high school in Santa Ana, Calif.
While playing for the Monarchs, Stanley Johnson won four state titles, was named the California Gatorade Male Player of the Year, was named to the McDonald’s high school All-American team and led Mater Dei to a No. 1 ranking in the country by many polls.
In his final game at Mater Dei in the CIF California boy’s basketball open division state championship game, Stanley Johnson scored 25 points to go along with eight assists and three steals.
The Monarchs won 71-61 over Bishop O’Dowd High School of Oakland, Calif., on March 29 — the same day Arizona lost to Wisconsin in the Elite Eight.
Current Wildcat Brandon Ashley also attended Bishop O’Dowd for three years before transferring to Findlay Prep high school in Henderson, Nev., for his senior year.
With so much time left until the Wildcats’ season opener, it’s hard to determine where Stanley Johnson will fit in the Wildcats’ roster for next year.
That being said, he is sure to make an impact on next season’s team, whether it’s as a starter or coming off of the bench.
If only Aaron Gordon leaves
If current Wildcat freshman Aaron Gordon is the only Wildcat to forgo the reminder of his eligibility, he will leave the starting small forward position open.
The two most likely to compete for that position are Stanley Johnson and current Wildcat Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
As of right now, Hollis-Jefferson might have the edge on Johnson because of his experience and familiarity. However, Stanley Johnson is a similar athlete and has a relentless physical playing style similar to Hollis-Jefferson’s. Where Stanley Johnson might separate himself from Hollis-Jefferson, though, is in his jump shot.
Stanley Johnson’s scouting report says he’s developed a nice touch; if he can continue to be a good shooter in college, he might work his way into the starting rotation.
If only Nick Johnson leaves
Nick Johnson’s decision to forgo his senior year of college is a little more difficult. But if only he decides to leave, Stanley Johnson probably won’t start at the shooting guard position, at least to begin the season, but he could find a way into a rotation that features him at the shooting guard position.
As of right now, Gabe York or Elliott Pitts would be the likely picks to replace Nick Johnson if he left. But Stanley Johnson’s dominance in the transition fits nicely into the Wildcats’ plans of attack.
According to Stanley Johnson’s scouting report, he may struggle at the two-guard position if he is defending a quicker guard who moves well laterally. If Stanley Johnson is unable to defend, he won’t play.
Most likely, Gordon will be the only Wildcat to leave, and Stanley Johnson will start next season on the bench but will earn valuable minutes of playing time.
His tenacity, combined with his ball skills, size and dominance in the transition, make him an ideal Arizona basketball player. Even if Gordon and Nick Johnson leave, Arizona will be an early favorite to at least return to the Elite Eight.
Stanley Johnson comparisons
Thaddeus Young, Ron Artest, Josh Smith
—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella