2013 recruiting class preview: JaJuan Johnson

Marquette’s 2013 recruiting class has the potential to be its best in years. Three consensus top-100 high school players, as well as another four-star and a three-star recruit, make up the verbal commitments joining the Golden Eagles next fall. 

Scout.com ranks the group seventh  in the nation, and other national media outlets – Rivals.com (7th), ESPN.com (9th), FoxSports.com (9th) and CBSSports.com (10th) – all place Marquette’s 2013 class in the top 10. Read Trey Killian’s profiles of the rest of the recruits here.

JaJuan Johnson sits atop Buzz Williams’ 2013 class as the highest nationally ranked recruit to commit to Marquette for next fall.

The Memphis, Tenn., native signed a national letter of intent last November, choosing Marquette over schools such as Alabama and Miami. Johnson told NationalRecruitingSpotlight.com that the strength of the class around him played a big part in his decision.

“When I was on my visit, I could tell I was coming in with a good recruiting class, and I built a good relationship with (assistant) coach (Isaac) Chew,” Johnson said, “With a good group of recruits, we have a good chance of winning.”

In an interview with Scout.com, Johnson said he considered Milwaukee more of a “basketball town” than Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Miami.

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard ranks 27th on the ESPN 100, and ESPN.com ranks him third nationally for his position and the second-best overall player in the state of Tennessee. He’s also been previously ranked 34th by Scout.com and 63rd by Rivals.com.

With leading scorer Vander Blue leaving for the NBA, Johnson could fill a prominent offensive hole in the Marquette backcourt. Coincidentally, Johnson is Marquette’s highest-ranked commit since Blue in 2010, according to Scout.com.

According to 247Sports.com, Johnson’s penetration, ability finish at the rim, athleticism and defense are his top qualities. Corey Pegram of Future150.com describes Johnson as a potent, regular scorer.

“He’s one of those guys who you watch and immediately recognize that scoring comes natural to him,” Pegram wrote. “Owning an explosive first step and a great offensive feel, Johnson knows how to manufacture his own shot and can score it from different areas on the floor.”

At Southwind High School, Johnson was an all-around star. As a junior he scored 22 points points per game while also pulling down 4.5 rebounds, dishing 5.1 assists and collecting 3.1 steals per game. That earned him MVP honors in his district, and he finished second in the state’s Mr. Basketball voting. As a senior, Johnson led a Southwind squad ranked first in the state and 22nd in the nation to a 33-6 record.

Despite his already noticeable ability to lead on the floor by example, Williams said Johnson is an excellent learner and student of the game.

“JaJuan is quiet by nature but very intelligent,” Williams said. “He comes from a basketball family and has been coached at a high level year-round throughout his career. He is able to absorb and execute coaching in an efficient manner. We welcome him with open arms and are excited about the player and teammate he will be.”

Johnson has praised other members of his class for their skill, identifying Deonte Burton as a “beast” and Duane Wilson as a “true point guard.” Thanks to Marquette’s family-oriented team atmosphere, he told NationalRecruitingSpotlight.com, the 2013 class will likely be a tight-knit group.

“I get along well with everyone,” Johnson said. “It’s important because we need everyone to come together on and off the court to be successful, and everyone has each other’s back.”