Picture some of the top wings in the game right now at the collegiate and pro levels, and think what some of the traits they have – great size and length; excellent basketball IQ and/or basketball instincts; athleticism – just to name a few. Then think of the skills some of the best have in their games – the ability to stretch the court with shooting; point guard-like handles and/or court vision; shot alterations and rebounding; ability to run the floor both literally and figuratively – and just overall versatile games where they can rotate several positions. The uber-talented 2020 wing prospect JALEN JOHNSON (Sun Prairie, WI – Sun Prairie H.S. – Phenom University) checks all those boxes. With the way he has played for a while now and the progressions he continues to make in his game, it’s no wonder why Johnson is one of the top prospects in his class nationally and is picking up offers left and right from many of the country’s elite Division I schools.

With schools such as Florida, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, UCLA, USC, Arizona State, Wisconsin, Marquette, Iowa, DePaul, Butler, UNLV, Purdue, West Virginia, LSU, Illinois, Arizona and Kansas already extending scholarship offers to the versatile 6’9” guard/forward, the national spotlight is shining brightly on Johnson. Duke, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio State and Louisville have also come in recently with interest in Johnson who continues to elevate as an elite national prospect on every board.  

Taking a break during his downtime at the USA’s, Johnson spoke via phone about a few of the aforementioned schools with some of his thoughts after receiving interest or offers from the college and their coaches:

Note – Not discussed in any particular order or with any level of exclusivity

ARIZONA - “Great program and good winning tradition… Coach Miller develops his players really well and it’s an excellent program historically”;

ARIZONA STATE - “Coach Bobby Hurley, he’s great… There’s nothing but big things coming through that program, and it’s only going up.” (Speaking on the commitments of Kyree Walker and Mike Foster) “Those are two great players so the future looks very bright for that program and Coach Hurley”;

UCLA - “That’s another great program… Coach Alford and his staff have a great tradition of developing guys for the pro level and historically UCLA is one of the top programs in the country”;

USC - “Again, it’s a West-coast school and it’s nice out there. They’re a great coaching staff and I know his son Evan, I have a good relationship with him – I’m at USA with him right now and that’s been fun. Then there’s Demar Derozan and Nick Young, guys like that have come through there, guys with versatile games like myself, so that’s great too”;

LSU - “Coach Wade recently brought in a good recruiting class, with Naz (Reid), Ja’Vonte Smart, Emmitt (Williams) and Darius (Days), their program keeps going up… They’re developing pros recently, and a guy like Ben Simmons coming through there, it’s someone that I see a lot of similarities in our games”;

KANSAS - “Coach Bill Self and Coach Thompson are excellent coaches and their teams always play great. It’s a great environment there and one of the toughest places to play in the nation”;

KANSAS STATE - “It’s a good school and they get to the tournament. They always seem to be coming in as an ‘under dog’ with chips on their shoulders and I like thatThey play really well and they have a good coaching staff as well”;

FLORIDA - “A favorite school of mine growing up, I was watching them since Joakim Noah, Al Horford and those guys were playing there. That would be another great opportunity playing there… Coach White’s been doing a great job defensively and always making a case for building strong teams”;

WISCONSIN - “They’ve been at me since the beginning of freshman year really and I think I’ve been their top priority, and they stay on me ‘because they want to keep me in state and going there… They want me to keep elevating as a player and a person”;

MARQUETTE - “They made me a priority as well… Coach Wojo has done a phenomenal job with his wings and all around with his team.  It’s another good opportunity I have”;

Johnson also discussed his thoughts about a few of the above mentioned schools that have jumped in the recruiting action for him recently:

DUKE - “It’s just a great school. I went down there in August and talked with Coach K and he already had a plan for me set in place when I got there, and they’re making me a priority right now. They said an offer is coming”;

KENTUCKY - “I went to their Big Blue Madness, I think it’s called, and their fans are just crazy loyal and you can tell when you get down there that it’s a basketball place. It’s a great environment to be in.” (Speaking on any influence in-state Kentucky commit Tyler Herro has had) “Tyler has been trying to talk to me... him and Keldon Johnson, they tell me every once in awhile they want me to come to Kentucky”;

MICHIGAN - “Coach Beilein and his staff, they’ve done a great job the past year. Getting to the championship shows the kind of work they put in to the offseason to get their teams to go all the way.  It’s another great program”;

With those thoughts, Johnson was still quick to note that his recruitment right now is wide open and he’s just starting with the process.  He did mention that at some point he will get together with his family and his inner circle to plan a timeline of when he might narrow things down a little. For now, he’s going to continue staying busy in the gym putting in work and enjoying the process.  “It’s a blessing really… that’s all I can say ‘cause not many people have the opportunity to play college basketball, so I don’t take any of this for granted,” Johnson said of how grateful he is for the attention he has received for his play on the court and his work in school.

However, Johnson still has a lot he wants to accomplish coming up, like continuing to develop his consistency with his jump shot. While he has dominated on the court this spring and has been a huge factor in the success of Phenom University on the circuit thus far, he’s gone into the grassroots circuit this spring with a goal in mind to prove any doubters wrong. “I still got stuff to prove… I’m playing with a chip on my shoulder, to show I belong with the top players in the class,” Johnson said. He’ll have a chance to put some of that take charge attitude to play on a big stage this summer as he and his Phenom University teammates will be competing at Peach Jam in July against some more of the top grassroots teams in the nation.