As first reported by Adam Zagoria, 6-foot-4 combo guard Geron Johnson (Garden City CC | Garden City, Ks) confirmed to Memphis Roar that he committed to the University of Memphis on Thursday afternoon.
“Yes, I committed to Memphis today,” Johnson said. “Think about it. Who wouldn’t like Memphis? It’s a big-time program, great facilities and coaches, and a great program. Everything was right.”
According to sources, Johnson was actually close to making his commitment to the University of Memphis during his official visit, but wanted to talk it over with his family first.
“I was pretty close [to committing on my visit]. I wouldn’t say that it was a definite, but Memphis was definitely high interest after that. I asked my mom about it and she said she felt real good about it because it’s not too far from home and she can come down and see me. I’m not too far away from home. I’ve been away from home since I left high school. I’ve been in Florida and I’m in Kansas now. I have family in Memphis and in Nashville. That’s a little bit more support. That’s definitely a big part of it.”
Johnson took an official visit to the University of Memphis on January 30th. In addition to the interest from Memphis, Johnson had offers from Kansas, Marshall, Southern Miss, Wichita State, Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Dayton and others. In a December interview, Johnson added that Marshall, Oklahoma State, and Rice had also expressed interest.
At the end of the day, though, one thing put his decision over the top.
“One thing put the icing on the cake and that was the BIG EAST. That is one of the conferences that I always wanted to play in growing up as a child. This is a dream come true, to be honest. It could be a positive move or a negative move for me. If I’m not working on my game, it will really show with all of the great players in that conference. I’m the type of person that enjoys the competition. I want to play the best so I can see where I’m at. It’s perfect, though. I don’t run from that type of stuff. I’ve got to be ready to play in the BIG EAST.”
Johnson is a super athletic combo guard who possesses the ability to get in the lane using his quickness and explosiveness, can shoot it past 20 feet, and can fill up the stat sheet in a hurry. He is great at creating for others and finishing in the lane. Johnson is a great passer with fantastic vision and creativity.
Johnson, who was ranked as the 56th best prospect in the 2010 class by ESPN, Scouts Inc. with a 4-star rating and a 94 Scout Grade, is currently a sophomore at Garden City Community College in Kansas. Johnson knows that his past pedigree will not guarantee him success at the University of Memphis, but that he will have to work for everything he achieves. He believes Memphis offers the chance to make that happen.
“The Finch Center and their workout facilities are crazy. That allows all the players to get better. Frank Matrisciano is big too. I feel like if I come in and take advantage of that, it will allow me to be at the best of my abilities.”
He played his freshman year at Chipola, averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds per game prior to transferring out of Chipola after being dismissed from the program in April, 2011 for off-the-court issues. The Dayton, Oh native was sentenced to six months – only serving about 6 weeks of that sentence – for violating terms of a diversion program for marijuana possession.
Johnson’s trouble with discipline dates back to high school when he and two others were arrested for the attempted theft of an Xbox video game console from neighborhood residence. Because of those mistakes, Johnson said he is learning how to be more consistent with his decision making and to shape his character.
“My past mistakes have helped shape me to have better character and to understand how quickly you can fall into bad decisions. They helped me because I have more knowledge know. I have to be more careful with the decisions that I make daily. If you make the right decisions consistently it becomes a habit where you are doing the right thing.”
As a sophomore season at Garden City, Johnson is averaging 19.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Johnson is shooting the ball at a high percentage: 54% from the field, 39% from three and 76% from the line. Whether you have heard of him or not, many feel that Johnson is a player that can make an impact right away for Memphis.
“I’m just out there trying to play the game like I know how to play it. I would want to be an MVP-level guy like Derrick Rose. For a guard to impact the game like that, that’s unbelievable. Memphis already has a great backcourt and has guards who are experienced with the basketball and can make plays off of the dribble. I want to be a defensive stopper and a scorer if needed. Whatever it takes to get it done. I’ll do it all. Steals, rebounds, and all of the above.”
“I’m not trying to be a prima donna. I’m a level-headed person trying to get to the top. We are all going to work hard and try to get to the top.”
Johnson said he plans to sign in April. He joins 6-foot-8 Shaq Goodwin and 6-foot-4 Damien Wilson in the Tigers’ 2012 recruiting class.