2010 (Senior):HEADER WESLEY JAMARR JOHNSON Small Forward Syracuse University Orange #4 6:06.3-206 Corsicana, Texas Iowa State University Eldon Academy Patterson School Corsicana High School
OVERVIEW While most experts call the 2010 NBA Draft a two-horse race between Kentucky's John Wall and Ohio State's Evan Turner, ESPN basketball analyst Dick Vitale advises teams to look further into the talent pool, calling Johnson the "best small forward in the collegiate ranks." The former Iowa State product's decision to transfer to Syracuse after his sophomore season appears to be a stroke of genius, as the Orange helped the junior expand on his wide array of offensive skills.
Johnson improved his scoring average by more than four points per game since the Cyclones' 2007-08 campaign. His 577 points scored last year were the most by a Syracuse junior since the 2000-01 season (662 by Preston Shumpert) and rank as the fourth-best performance by a player in his first year in an Orange uniform. The small forward improved his field-goal accuracy from 39.6% as a sophomore to 50.2% at Syracuse and he proved to be deadly from the perimeter, making 41.5% of his three-point attempts.
At Corsicana High School, Johnson was a two-time All-District selection, where he averaged 15.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in his final year at the school. In 2005, he was named the Golden Circle Defensive Player of the Year. He also competed for the Dallas Mustangs AAU team that season and was rated the 47th-best overall prep prospect by Rivals.com.
Johnson later played at two prep schools (Patterson School and Eldon Academy). He had originally signed with Louisiana-Monroe out of high school, but a coaching change led him to prep school instead. After graduation, he chose Iowa State over scholarship offers from Charlotte and San Diego State.
As a freshman at Iowa State in 2006-07, Johnson was named to the Big 12 Conference All-Rookie team and earned honorable mention freshman All-American honors after averaging 12.3 points and 7.9 rebounds, starting 30 of 31 games. His highlights from his freshman year included 14 points and 13 rebounds in win vs. Missouri, including the game-winner on a tip-in with 1.6 seconds left. He also scored 17 points at 10th-ranked Texas A&M.
As a sophomore, Johnson missed five games and played with an injured ankle throughout the majority of the 2007-08 season. He still was named an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection after averaging 12.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He scored 20 points behind a 5-of-11 effort from three-point range vs. eventual NCAA champion Kansas.
Johnson made the decision to transfer following the 2008 season, and selected Syracuse. Per NCAA transfer rules, he had to sit out the 2008-09 season, leaving him with two years of college eligibility.
The junior became a starter for the Syracuse Orange in his first year with the team. In November 2009 he was named MVP of the 2K Coaches Classic after scoring 25 points in a Syracuse victory over North Carolina. Johnson would score 17 points and grab 10 rebounds as Syracuse knocked off then-10th ranked Florida on Dec. 10. In his first game of Big East play, he scored 20 points and grabbed a career high 19 rebounds as Syracuse defeated Seton Hall 80-73 on Dec. 29.
Johnson, who would lead the Orange in scoring (16.5 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rpg) was named Big East Conference Player of the Year. He also garnered Associated Press All-American first-team accolades. He finished second on the squad with 64 blocked shots and 58 steals, ranking fourth on the unit with 78 assists. On April 12, Johnson declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft, forgoing his final year of college eligibility.
GAME ANALYSIS Recorded a personal best six steals vs. Albany in his Syracuse debut, adding 12 points and eight boards...Johnson was named Big East Player of the Week for his performances vs. California (17 points, six blocks, 11 rebounds) and North Carolina (eight boards, 25 points on 10-of-17 FGs) and was named the 2K Sports Classic MVP after averaging 21.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in SU's two wins over those opponents...Recorded his second double-double of the year with 15 points and 10 rebounds vs. Cornell...Scored 26 points and also tied his season best with four three-point field goals vs. Columbia...Led the Orange with 19 points and nine rebounds vs. Colgate...Registered a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds vs. Florida and vs. Seton Hall, Johnson scored 20 points while adding a career-high 19 rebounds to lead the Orange to victory...Finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds in a win vs. South Florida for his seventh double-double of the season... Achieved his ninth double-double of the year, leading the Orange with 22 points and 15 rebounds to a Big East Conference win over Marquette...Posted his tenth double-double of the season, grabbing 13 rebounds and scoring 16 points as the Orange posted another conference victory vs. DePaul...Named a midseason All-American by ESPN.com's Jay Bilas and The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy...Johnson was 8-of-8 from the line recording 16 points and five blocks, leading the Orange to victory over Georgetown...Recorded five steals vs. Providence and had his eleventh double-double of the season finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Villanova...In the regular-season finale vs. Louisville, Johnson scored 18 points for the Orange...Took home the Big East Player of the Year Award after he notched his twelfth double-double of the season vs. Gonzaga in second round NCAA Tournament action, as he scored a career high 31 points and pulled down 14 rebounds leading the Orange to the win...Tallied 19 points and nine rebounds in the Sweet 16 game vs. eventual National Runner-up Butler.
GAME ANALYSIS 2007-08 SEASON All-Big 12 Conference honorable mention in his second season at Iowa State (wore jersey #14)...Played in 27 games, starting 25 contests...Missed five contests and was slowed for most of the campaign by an ankle injury...Despite the injury, he averaged 12.4 points (114-of-288 field goals, 47-of-141 three-pointers, 60-of-77 free throws) and 4.0 rebounds (107 total) per game.
2007-08 SEASON Scored 20-plus points seven times as a sophomore, including hitting five three-pointers in 20-point showings vs. Albany and Kansas...His lone double-double, a 20-point, 11-rebound effort, came vs. Missouri...The Missouri game started a streak of four straight 20-point games for Johnson...Had an ISU career-best 24 points the next night out vs. Oklahoma State, then followed it with 21 at Kansas and 20 at Kansas State to earn Big 12 Player of the Week honors.
GAME ANALYSIS 2006-07 SEASON Freshman All-American honorable mention by Collegehoops.net and member of the Big 12 Conference's All-Rookie team in his first year at Iowa State...Named to the Cyclone Challenge All-Tournament team and was the recipient of the ISU Outstanding Rebounder Award...Was also selected to the Athletes in Action All-Star Team...Started 30-of-31 games as a true freshman, scoring 381 points (12.3 ppg) on 141-of-317 field goals (44.5%), including 32-of-109 three-pointers, as he made 75.3% of his free throws (67-of-89)...His 244 rebounds (7.9 rpg)...Led the Big 12 in offensive rebound average (3.16)...His 33 blocks led the team...Had eleven double-doubles, including four in a row, to rank second in the conference...Also registered six straight double-digit rebound games.
2006-07 SEASON Had a season-high 14 rebounds to go with 15 points at Colorado...Hit five three-pointers and finished with 17 points in a home encounter with Missouri...Added a season-high 22 points vs. Nebraska...Selected Big 12 Player of the Week (12/19) after posting back-to-back double-doubles vs. Savannah State and Bradley...Recorded 14 points and 13 rebounds in ISU's second road win vs. Missouri, including the game-winner on a tip-in with :01.6 seconds left, earning league Rookie of the Week (1/08) honors after his heroics vs. the Tigers...Tallied 17 points (7-11 FG) at tenth-ranked Texas A&M...
2009-10 SEASON All-American first-team selection by The NBA Draft Report, United States Basketball Writers Association and Associated Press...All-Big East Conference first-team choice and named league Player of the Year...Also selected the MVP of the 2K Coaches Classic...One of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy, awarded to the men's college basketball player of the year...Also chosen the ECAC Division l Player of the Year... Started all 35 games at small forward in his only season at Syracuse...Led the team in scoring and rebounds, hitting on 207-of-412 field goals (50.2%), 51-of-123 three-pointers (41.5%) and 112-of-145 free throws (77.2%) for 577 points, an average of 16.5 points per game...Had a career-best 299 rebounds (8.5 rpg) that included 75 from the offensive glass...Handed out 78 assists (2.2 apg), as he had 58 steals (1.7 spg) and ranked second on the squad with 64 blocked shots...Disqualified once, as he totaled 72 personal fouls and 81 turnovers... Scored in double figures 32 times and produced 12 double-double performances...Had at least three blocked shots in 10 contests and handed out at least three assists in 12 games.
2008-09 SEASON Johnson transferred to Syracuse University and, per NCAA rules, sat out the 2008-09 campaign.
CAREER NOTES Johnson played in 35 games at Syracuse and 58 contests at Iowa State...For his career, he scored 1,293 points (13.9 ppg) on 462-of-1,017 field goals (45.4%), 130-of-373 three-pointers (34.9%) and 239-of-311 free throws (76.8%)...His 577 points for the Orange in 2009-10 was the fourth-best season total by a player in his first year at Syracuse...Logged 2,937 minutes on the court during his collegiate career, recording 650 rebounds (7.0 rpg) with 150 assists (1.6 apg), 106 steals (1.1 spg) and 108 blocked shots (1.2 bpg)...Became the first transfer student to ever earn Big East Conference Player of the Year honors (2009-10)...His 79 three-point field goals made at Iowa State rank 13th on that school's career-record list...His 244 rebounds for Iowa State in 2006-07 rank as the second-best season total by a Cyclones freshman.
HIGH SCHOOL Attended Corsicana (Texas) High School, playing basketball for coach Andy Dotson... Two-time All-District selection, averaging 15.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in his final year at the school...In 2005, he was named the Golden Circle Defensive Player of the Year...Also competed for the Dallas Mustangs AAU team that season and was rated the 47th-best overall prep prospect by Rivals.com...Ranked 47th among seniors by Rivals.com entering his senior campaign...Signed with Louisiana-Monroe out of high school, but a coaching change led him to prep school.
OTHER TOURNAMENTS/TEAMS SUMMER LEAGUE Played for the Athletes in Action All-Star team that toured Australia in the summer of 2007, as he averaged 14.3 points in the seven-game tour.
PREP SCHOOL Johnson enrolled at Patterson School (N.C.) and later transferred to Eldon Academy (Mich.)...He was coached by Jerry Ernst at Eldon.
PERSONAL Communications and Rhetorical Studies....Has a brother, Craig Carroll, and a sister, Rhonda Smith...Son of Mary and Robert Johnson...Born Wesley JaMarr Johnson on 7/11/87 in Corsicana, Texas.
SCOUTING REPORT Positives: Johnson has a lean, angular, but tapered frame with good muscle tone, long limbs (7'1" wingspan), great elevation and leaping ability, thanks to his reach (8'10"), as he possesses minimal body fat (94.6%)...Mature beyond his years, as he plays with very good court vision, rare to see him make costly mistakes...Very good at creating his own shot and shows the ball handling and passing skills to create shots for others...Shows strong desire on the defensive end (224-of-299 rebounds came from the defensive glass) and has the quickness to stay with wings and challenge two-guard types attempting shots on the perimeter...Has a nice array of fakes and hesitation moves, along with the ability to pull up and stop on the dime, doing a nice job of creating separation from the defender to get off his shot from mid-range...Demonstrates very good foot placement, elevation and a quick, high release when shooting from the perimeter (made 41.5% of his three-point attempts last year)...Hard for the slower forwards to defend, as he has blazing court speed and that low center of gravity to easily slash by a lethargic opponent...Forces the defender to commit too early with his pump fakes and very quick release, but needs to do a better job of drawing contact in attempts to get to the charity stripe more often...Shows the change of direction agility to easily redirect and gets great elevation attacking the basket... Has become highly efficient shooting from long range and can also flush in transition...Has the range to connect the three-pointer and demonstrates polished mechanics with his jump shot...Despite his lanky frame, he is a good ball handler, demonstrating the hands to protect and the frame to shield the ball from defenders (78 assists as a junior)...Possesses the best perimeter game of any player eligible in this draft, showing the ability to create his own shot, especially when working from outside in...Drives into the post with good authority and is quick to score off the dribble...Has also developed into an efficient free throw shooter (made 77.2% of his attempts at Syracuse)...Uses his long reach to block shots (second on the team with 68 in 2009-10) and also reach around to steal the ball (also second on the squad with 58 thefts)...Has classic timing on pull-up jumpers and excels at nailing his jumpers right in the face of his opponent...Lacks the frame to play power forward, but is quick enough to line up at shooting guard and has enough strength to hit the boards as a small forward...Moves fluidly in transition and his speed is evident on the fast break...Catches the ball cleanly and can fire off the screens with good consistency (78 assists)...Does a good job of setting his feet when connecting from mid range and times his leaps well to block shots...Uses his long arms to get to off-balance rebounds and has the soft hands to catch the tough passes thrown in the post...Comfortable playing with his back to the basket and shows solid footwork on his turnaround jumper...Much like a shooting guard, he is exceptional in attempts to pull up off the dribble (made 63.6% of those chances)...Uses his lanky frame efficiently to box out and has the timing to leap over defenders before they can push him out of the lanes...Best when shooting along the perimeter and while he needs to be more aggressive at times, he strives getting to handle the ball in crunch time...Has effective ball handling ability and knows his outside jump shot creates mismatches, forcing the forward to come out of the paint to defend him.
Negatives: Until last season, Johnson was not effective at drawing contact on the way to the basket and tended to shy away from inside contact and pressure...This resulted in just limited opportunities to get to the charity stripe (averaged just 2.86 free throw attempts in 58 games at Iowa State, compared to 4.14 chances per game at Syracuse last year)...Is unselfish to a fault, as he would much rather feed a teammate and create for others rather than create his own shot...Can put the ball on the floor for a dribble or two, but when he keeps the it for too long, he will get a bit sloppy and this leads to turnover issues (averaged 2.31 turnovers per game last year and 2.15 for his career)...Better playing on the wing, as I doubt he will ever be tough enough to bang heads with the centers and four-type forwards at the next level...One of the older players in the draft, as he will turn 23 by the season opener...Needs to dedicate hours in the training room, as he does have adequate muscle tone but lacks overall strength to prevent from being boxed out by the bigger NBA types...Attended three schools during his prep days and two colleges, leading some to question why he changed schools so often rather than grow within the same system.
Compares To: SHAWN MARION, Dallas -- Like Marion, Johnson is a versatile defender with a vastly improved perimeter shooting range. He needs to add more bulk and upper-body strength to crash the boards vs. NBA types, but he compensates with his length and wing span, especially attacking the defensive glass. He needs to improve his ball protection skills and be more creative with his shot, but if a defender leaves him unprotected on the perimeter, he will simply kill the opponent by nailing his jumpers or gaining separation with his quickness to score in transition.