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July 19, 2014

Camp eval: Stanley Johnson

Arizona head coach Sean Miller continues to secure California's best recruits. His latest addition, Stanley Johnson is bringing a lot of hype with him heading into next season.

The former Mater Dei standout continues to cement his name among the best income freshman. Johnson, the 6-foot-7 perimeter powerhouse is expected to fill the void Aaron Gordon left when the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year entered the NBA Draft last April.

With Johnson, the 'Cats have an explosive scorer that can make teams pay from the multiple spots on the floor. He does not have Gordon's athleticism, but he can provide more of an offensive threat. With the starting lineup potentially featuring Johnson and sophomore forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson the freshman would fill the shooting guard role. This creates a mismatch for most teams in the Pac-12 as there are few two-guards that can matchup with a 6-7, 230 pound guard.

Defensively, the California native fits Miller's philosophy with Johnson having the size and speed to defend multiple positions on the collegiate level.

The LeBron James Skills Academy wrapped up on July 12th, so there has been ample time to reflect on player performances.

Johnson proved to be one of the better players in the college group.

"Wisconsin's Sam Dekker was the best in the camp, but it's fair to say that Stanley Johnson is a close second," an NBA scout said.

Johnson attributed his youth as a main reason for him playing as hard as he did.

"It's really competitive out here because there is a lot of guys older than me that know the college game and play my position," Johnson told GOAZCATS.com.

As a spectator, it was not evident that the age difference was something the young wing player had in his mind. Johnson, at times, made his game look too easy. He was blowing by his defenders and finishing at the rim against the older talent.

The individual drills do not always get the players excited. The college group often appeared disinterested in the dribbling and shooting exercises. The pace always picked up when they went to five-on-five scrimmages, though.

The scrimmages brought one of Johnson's best camp moments. The man himself, LeBron James stepped on the court and ran with some of the teams.

"It was a great experience playing against LeBron, he's probably the best player in the world," Johnson said. I got the chance to play against Kevin Durant and LeBron James in the same month, so I'm having a lot out here, but he's a great player and he made some great moves; it was great to play against him."

Johnson created a little buzz at the skills academy when he put his best effort against The King, he picked James, which resulted in the four-time MVP increasing his intensity level.

"Anytime people think there's a player in the gym who's better than me, that's who I want to play against," Johnson told the media.

Johnson proved that age is nothing but a number. He showed he has the ability to be the primary scorer next season. His fantastic showing at camp further proved what the masses already knew, Johnson is ready to help Arizona make that elusive Final Four appearance.

Joseph DuruakuJoseph Duruaku
GOAZCATS.com Staff Writer

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