After initially being concerned that Kevin might have jumped the gun a little too early in his decision, the elder Johnson’s quickly became excited by the news. The ability to see all of Kevin’s home-games, as well as having him stay less then 5 miles from their home on the western side of Cincinnati all intrigue the family, and helped factor in to the decision.
“My dad always is going to play devil’s advocate with me. Once I let him know that I was really serious then they supported my decision the whole way.”
Monday morning, the day of his 17th birthday, Johnson informed the Cincinnati coaching staff of his decision.
“Coach Cronin was excited to hear the news. I told him I was trying to make it happen and we set the press conference up immediately.”
It wasn’t just proximity and hometown pride that led Johnson to his decision. A strong relationship with Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin, the intensity with which the Bearcat staff recruited him, the opportunity to play in the Big East conference, and the style of play at Cincinnati all contributed to the decision.
“The family image and the choices that UC gives me just made me think that there’s no reason to go hours away when I can stay in my own city.”
“I feel like Coach Cronin and I will have a great relationship. He’s a great person, a great father, and he’s always been real with me.”
One of the most improved players in the Midwest over the last season, the three-star guard (who falls in at number 146 in the latest Rivals150, and who will most likely move up further in the next set of rankings) has attracted the interest of several of the nation’s elite programs. In choosing Cincinnati the point guard spurned offers from Minnesota, Illinois, Seton Hall, DePaul, Xavier, VCU, Cornell and several others. An explosive athlete, Johnson has the ability to leap out of the gym and also has tremendous quickness in his first step.
Johnson is known as a lock-down defender who uses his length, and tenacious attitude, to eliminate the opposing team’s top perimeter player. Offensively he is a versatile playmaker that can play either guard spot. Johnson shoots the ball well from the perimeter, including pull-up three-pointers off the dribble. He has an elite handle, can play off the pick and roll, and is deadly in transition as either a score or a distributor.
While he’s made a significant amount of progress in the last year by improving both his jumpshot and his overall point guard floor game Johnson doesn’t feel like he’s done improving yet. In fact he says that playing for the hometown Bearcats will give him even more motivation.
“Playing in my own city isn’t going to distract me it’s going to make me work harder. Everyone in the city wants me to do great, and that’s pressure. But, I feel like it’s a good kind of pressure.”
After leading his Cincinnati Summit Country Day team to a 27-1 record and an Ohio Division III State Championship as a junior the 6-foot-2 athlete plans on helping the Bearcats build on the recent success, most notably their recent Sweet Sixteen performance.
“To win you have to work hard. A lot of those guys at UC have done that to get to the Sweet Sixteen. With what I’ve learned in winning the state championship I kind of know what it takes on a smaller scale.”
Johnson is the second 2013 prospect to verbally commit to Coach Cronin; joining Virginia combo guard Troy Caupain who committed to the Bearcats on June 8th.