Maine Prep Star Headed to Atlantic 10

NewEnglandRecruitingReport.com | Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Maine Prep Star Headed to Atlantic 10

Sometimes all it takes is one good performance to jump start your recruitment. 

For Tim Johnson that performance came four and a half weeks ago at the National Prep School Invitational.  It was the second game of the morning as Johnson and his Lee Academy team took on Stoneridge Prep from California.  A pretty good crowd of college coaches had gathered by the 10:30 tip time. 

Two hours later Tim Johnson’s recruitment looked a whole lot different.  The Illinois native had seized the opportunity to impress those coaches as he showed them not just his trademark athleticism but also a much improved skill set as well as the defensive ability to be able to pick his man up full court. 

There was literally a line of college coaches waiting to speak with Lee head coach Jim Graffam after the game, and a day later Johnson had a whole new list of schools. 

In the four weeks that have followed, Johnson has gotten a first hand look at many of those schools.  He visited LaSalle and Missouri State unofficially, took an official visit to George Washington last weekend, and had a trip planned to Central Florida.   

But after being on GW’s campus last week, Johnson decided he had seen all he needed to see.

“From the moment I was on G.W.’s campus I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” he told the New England Recruiting Report. 

Two days after returning from that visit, Johnson made it official as he called head coach Karl Hobbs and made a verbal commitment. 

“I wanted to play for Coach Hobbs,” he said.  “Going to G.W. is going to help me after I’m done playing basketball, and if I wanted to play at the next level he would be the coach to get me there.  That’s a dream but why not shoot for it?”

Johnson’s commitment to the Atlantic 10 School comes in his second year at Lee Academy.  He was a role player his first season, known primarily for his explosive leaping ability.  But he continued to work hard to expand his skills and consequently inherited a marquee role on this year’s Lee team. 

“I was playing behind a few great guys last year in Nate Tomlinson (Colorado) and Chris Bass (LSU), so I had the opportunity to learn quite a bit,” Johnson said.  “But my hard work has been consistent.  I wanted to get away from being one dimensional…just a jumper.  So I started trying to guard people full court and also worked on my skills.  Last year I’d go a few games without making a three.  This year I’m shooting around 35%.  That’s not great but it’s not bad.” 

The progression from last year to this year has been easy for observing evaluators to see.  As he said, Johnson is making a much improved impact on the defensive end of the floor while showing the ability to score in a variety of ways offensively – he can hit the three, has a great mid-range shooting touch, can score some with his back to the basket, and of course he remains a threat to rise up and dunk on a contesting defender at just about anytime. 

But that’s not the only thing that’s changed about Johnson since last year. 

“I have a thick afro right now.  Last year my team and I made a bet that I couldn’t cut my hair until I committed to a college,” he explained.  “I haven’t cut it in about a year and a half and now it’s going to be coming off soon.  That may be the best part about everything.”