Indiana in heavy pursuit of 2014 guard Robert Johnson

  • 07/30/2013 10:05 am in

071413With each passing July evaluation period, 2014 guard Robert Johnson continued to get more attention. He’s emerged as one of the elite guard prospects in next year’s class, and he has drawn interest from many major schools in recent months.

Indiana offered Johnson a scholarship earlier this month, and the Hoosiers’ coaching staff has stayed in constant contact with him ever since. North Carolina, another school that has been recruiting Johnson, offered him a scholarship on Monday.

Johnson told us in Washington last weekend that the five schools recruiting him the hardest were Alabama, Villanova, Florida State, Indiana and Miami.

“When I got the call from coach (Tom) Crean, I was pretty excited,” Johnson told Inside the Hall earlier this month. “Indiana is one of the most prestigious programs in the nation. When he offered me, I was real humbled and honored and him wanting me to be a part of that I think is really big. It’s a sign that I’m heading in the right direction and need to continue to work hard.”

Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound combo guard from Richmond, Virginia, told us earlier this month that he would “definitely” take a visit to Indiana.

“The last month or so, they’ve been recruiting him hard,” said Johnson’s AAU coach, Boo Williams, who is also the uncle of Indiana freshman Troy Williams. “He can really play now. He can play the 1, he can play the 2. He can really shoot. He just knows how to play. He’s got great footwork.

“Not a lot of people before this season knew a lot about him, but now almost everybody knows about him.”

Before Troy Williams, no Boo Williams AAU player had ever committed to play for Indiana. But now that he has, there’s a connection there for the first time. A pipeline hasn’t yet been established, but Troy Williams’ commitment to the Hoosiers has more players in Boo’s program looking at Indiana more closely than ever before.

“I think it opens it up there,” Boo Williams told Inside the Hall on Monday. “[Johnson] knows about Indiana. Kids in the East know about Indiana, the success they had last year. Victor [Oladipo’s] from the East. The Indiana pride and tradition, everybody knows about all that. He’d be great for Tom Crean.”

Johnson has not set a timetable for his decision, but Boo Williams said he thinks Johnson will commit at some point in the fall.

“I don’t think it’ll be a spring decision,” Williams said. “I think they’ll want him to commit early. Tom has too much experience with this.”

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  • inLinE6

    Does it mean we are looking for alternatives if Dante Exum opts for NBA next year?

  • ScoopGeoff

    Feels more like an alternative to Booth or Hill…

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    Before Troy Williams, no Boo Williams AAU player had ever committed to play for Indiana. But now that he has, there’s a connection there for the first time. A pipeline hasn’t yet been established, but Troy Williams’ commitment to the Hoosiers has more players in Boo’s program looking at Indiana more closely than ever before.

    The old advice is true: Success is all about relationships and personal networking. See how it’s helping here?

  • Caleb Moore

    Exum is still in the fold. We need a ball handler next year though. Yogi may be back, but I’m not sure that Stan is a true PG. He could help in a pinch, but not what you want full time in an offense designed to push the ball and find open shooters. I like this kid a lot, but UNC jumping in has me worried. Could pan out similar to the end for Pinson.

  • Dylan Young

    I would guess Booth and Hill are alternatives to Johnson. He’s about to make a big leap in the player rankings.

  • N71

    With James already committed I can’t help but think his evolution as a stud scorer has us looking to compliment that aspect of his game which must be the attraction to Robert assuming for a second he’s a big point guard. If Yogi makes the IU-Sophomore leap like Vic and Will, then he’ll surely feel the tug of the NBA come years end and Stan will then need some help. Dante then seems NBA bound for sure. Interesting about Robert, he may have longer term strategic implications due to what was traditionally an ACC pipeline being opened up to IU. I like our balancing both Indiana and the Maryland/Virginia areas to help mitigate the impact of loosing the likes of someone like Gary Harris.

  • RatKingSports

    I have seen this kid play and his game reminds me a lot of JBJ. The
    major difference is that RJ seems to be more comfortable playing point
    than JBJ at this stage. They both use little to no wasted motion to get
    their shots off… In 2014-2015, depending on how Stanford develops his point guard skills, Yogi would be the only point guard on the roster… I like RJ’s game… I could only imagine JBJ and RJ in the same backcourt, giving the opposing team MAJOR headaches!

  • CrimsonandCreamFraiche

    UNC doesn’t worry as much after the way they are handling this Hairston situation. If a kids fully understands the Hairston situation and still chooses UNC, I don’t think we want them anyway. I’m not referring to Pinson because he signed with them about two days before it all happened.

  • ScoopGeoff

    Probably leap frog Booth, but it would be hard to overtake Hill… I don’t know much about him other than what’s been put on here, but he seems to have a enough size and a little bit of clutch.


    Success breeds success. Only three words, but it says way so much more than that.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Phil Booth has committed to Villanova so that’s one guard removed from the equation.

  • Miamihoosier

    He’s probably not going to be an equivalent to Exum, but after reading the reaction to his play in these recent AAU tournaments, it sounds like he’s been one of the top guards in the country. After losing out on so many top ranked guys, it would be sweet irony if we sign a couple kids no one knew about in the last 2 years, that end up leap frogging these others in the rankings.

  • SCHoosier

    See where Booth..who has often been considered an IU “lean” committing to “Nova”. That..and Exum’s status explains why IU coaches are scrambling with the last minute attention to Johnson and Newton(?) Booth should have immediate playing time as a starter for Villanova..not so at IU. And another prospect gets lost in the “cloud”. Actually think Johnson will be a better fit long term..but may have the same playing time issues.

  • SCHoosier

    Huumm..what “fold” would that be?

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I just can’t see Yogi making a big enough leap in his game to go pro at the end of this season. (Also factoring in how deep the 2014 draft will be)

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I think we should all put our money on Yogi being back.

  • HoosierTrav

    Or similarly to the end for Troy Williams. When not a single person on this forum, including myself, thought Troy was going to sign anywhere other than UNC. We still need to get through Hoosier Hysteria. I hope Exum makes a follow up trip during HH.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    I like this guy a lot , better than Booth even . Exum would be awesome of course but I believe this kid is better long term than Exum being a one and done . I,ve heard a lot about this guy bursting on the scene and that he has just blossomed . I think his upside is better than some we missed on .

  • Ole Man

    I keep asking the same question, with no good answer. We have one scholly left. We want Exum and Goodluck, both. So I don’t understand this pursuit of guards, guards, guards.

  • Ole Man

    I hope Exum commits before HH!

  • Ole Man

    Slight disagreement. Agree with the theory of building with this kid. But would totally jump at the chance to have Exum, even as a one and done.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    I would definetly love to have Exum . Of all of them I would pick Goodluck first !

  • marcusgresham

    Guys who aren’t 6’0″ don’t leave early for the NBA.

  • Bfblog

    You love typing JBJ.

  • B-TOWNdawgs

    Guard play is extremely important (obviously) But even more than ever before. Look how louisville won this past year… We are thin on guards in the years to come- yogi, stan, jbj- that’s it- so that’s why we are targeting more guards. After last year’s class, our front court is set for years…

  • slojoe

    Crean appears to be recruiting 4 for 2014. We have a pure shooting guard in JBJ. He’s looking for a combo guard, a big, and Exum. Currently Exum is a PG but in Crean’s system not always a lot of difference between guards.

  • slojoe

    I don’t think the status of Exum and the VC of Booth explains the “last minute attention” to Johnson. It appears the Crean has been looking for 4 in the class of 2014. Two guards, a big and Exum. CTC has been on Johnson as he blew up.

  • RatKingSports

    lol.. it beats typing out James Blackmon Jr. every time.

  • Ole Man

    Like the Goodluck call. We’re desperate for a big in this class.