Elite forward Stanley Johnson pledges to Arizona

Stanley Johnson will immediately be one of the best scorers in the Pac-12. (Adidas)
Stanley Johnson will immediately be one of the best scorers in the Pac-12. (Adidas)

Of the four top-six recruits to announce their college decisions on Friday, it seemed that Stanley Johnson would be the one with the least amount of drama.

And it stayed true – as heavy favorite Arizona ended up being the choice for Johnson.

For most of his recruitment, the Wildcats were thought to be the favorite to land Johnson, a 6-foot-6 wing forward from Mater Dei (Calif.). Kentucky made a push in the fall, and USC also made a late run as his decision date neared, but Sean Miller and Arizona had the edge in this one for awhile. The Wildcats have had success with players from the Oakland Soldiers AAU program in the past, and former Soldiers Brandon Ashley and Aaron Gordon are currently playing in Tucson. Oregon and Florida were also in Johnson’s top five, but didn’t seem to make enough headway.

Arizona will be getting arguably the best motor in the 2014 class in Johnson. Ranked No. 6 in the 247Sports Composite, Johnson is physical and one of the hardest-working players in the country. With his strength and aggressiveness, Johnson is a matchup nightmare for most defenders. He no longer just overpowers defenders, as he has greatly improved his ball-handling skills, as well as his ability to knock down perimeter shots. When it comes down to it, though, Johnson is just impossible to keep out of the lane – and he loves contact at the rim.

Johnson is the fourth commitment for Miller in the 2014 class. Los Angeles point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright (No. 56 in 247Sports Composite) pledged in February, forward Craig Victor (No. 28) popped in August, and junior college transfer Kadeem Allen committed last month. The Wildcats ranked No. 10 nationally before Johnson’s commitment – and his decision solidifies Arizona as the best recruiting class in the Pac-12. The Wildcats have also done a tremendous job with available five-star forward Justise Winslow, but Duke and Florida are also in the mix.

Jordin Mayes is the lone senior on this year’s Arizona team, although freshman forward Aaron Gordon is almost assuredly going pro. Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski are also NBA prospects, but they could stick around for their junior seasons. Either way, Miller and Arizona are well-positioned to be a Final Four threat again in 2014-15. Johnson’s commitment cements that thought.

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