With Arizona's 2018 class of prospects taking center stage for the spring and summer NCAA evaluation periods, one prospect that is making a strong case for himself to be recruited at a higher level is Pinnacle High School's 6-foot-7 junior forward Mason Johnson. After a lot of hard work and a strong commitment to his craft, Johnson is hearing from numerous college programs as of late.
After being evaluated as an undersized four-man prospect previously, Johnson has transformed his body and significantly improved his overall approach to the game - developing now into a versatile wing prospect that has an advanced offensive skillset. Johnson has become a skilled wing shooter with an ability to play inside and out, and also handle guard responsibilities for his team.
I attended Johnson's club practice on Thursday evening for his club program, Alvin Gentry Elite - a club team supported by NBA head coach Alvin Gentry (New Orleans Pelicans). The program is organized by Matt Myers and coached by Chaparral HS graduate and former ASU player Jarrett Upchurch. Former Northwestern star player Kevin Coble also helps develop the players in the program, while former college head coach Dion Phelps is a consultant to the program.
Johnson, under strong leadership in the program, has developed a great deal since the last time I saw him perform. He looks much more fluid on the perimeter and has a much quicker release on his shot these days, allowing him to get his shot off quickly, while also being able to take defenders inside and finish off quick moves around the rim. He uses his body well and has excellent footwork.
Johnson has become a very versatile prospect and should see much higher college recruitment for himself in July, as a result of his hard work.
Johnson advised me that his recruitment is beginning to soar as he is now receiving strong interest from Dartmouth, Columbia, Cornell and Army.
John is an excellent student and carries a 3.8 CUM GPA.
He and his club program will travel to the Midwest and East Coast during the month of July, in an attempt to draw more recruiting attention from high academic programs.
"We don't have any PAC-12 prospects on this team," said Matt Myers. "We have high academic kids with aspirations of getting a quality education."
Johnson is a product of hard work and has turned himself into a division-I prospect through dedication to the game and staying in the gym. I am very impressed with his developement as a player, and look forward to following his progress and recruitment throughout the month of July.