California prospect Stanley Johnson on Calipari’s radar



By Matt Overing | @MattO_KyKernel

[email protected]

Stanley Johnson has had quite the junior season for Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) High School.

The 6-foot-7, 200-pound forward averaged 19.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game as he led the Monarchs to the California Interscholastic Federation state championship, scoring 26 points in the championship game against Class of 2013 five-star recruit Aaron Gordon and Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) High School.

Johnson was named the National Junior of the Year by Maxpreps, the Southern California Player of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and became a consensus top-20 player in the Class of 2014.

“He’s a very gifted basketball player, inside and out,” Mater Dai head coach Gary McKnight said in a telephone interview with the Kernel.

“He’s very versatile,” McKnight said. “He’s 6-7 and he can handle the ball. He can play four spots, 1 through 4.”

McKnight has coached at Mater Dei since 1983 and won more games than any other California high school men’s basketball coach. Five players who have played for McKnight during that time have gone on to play in the NBA.

“I’ve had a lot of great players here, but he may be the best,” McKinght said of Johnson, who has a scholarship offer from UK head coach John Calipari.

Last Thursday, Johnson took to Twitter to  announce he has whittled down the list of colleges he’s considering attending.

“Arizona, Kentucky, Florida, Oregon, Duke, UCLA, USC, is my new list,” Johnson said.

McKnight says that Johnson wouldn’t have a problem playing in Lexington.

“Stanley could adapt to anything. He does a lot of travel with his high school teams, and he seems to enjoy that,” McKnight said. “He’d fit in fine. It’s just a matter of if there’s enough room for all those McDonald’s All-Americans.”

Johnson was a member of the USA Men’s U17 World Championship team and currently plays for the Oakland Soldiers in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League.

At the 2013 EYBL California, Johnson averaged 19.8 points and 10.8 rebounds in four games.

Last year, Johnson averaged a team-high 16.3 points per game as he and the Soldiers won the EYBL championship.

McKnight says he expects Johnson to make a visit to Lexington in the future.

“Stanley’s got a very open mind right now,” McKnight said. “I know he’s going to take a visit to Kentucky, and he’s probably going to make a decision come fall.”