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Wednesday / February 22.

Dakari Johnson: ‘Syracuse Recruiting Me the Hardest’

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Editor’s Note: I apologize in advance that the video cuts out in the middle of this interview. There are quotes in the bottom of the story that don’t appear in the video.

AKRON, Ohio — Dakari Johnson is one of the premiere big men in the country, even though he’s just a rising sophomore.

At 6-foot-11, 263 pounds, Johnson is holding his own with older players at the LeBron James Skills Academy.

He even caught a pass from King James himself and converted for a flush.

“He threw it to me once and I got a wide-open dunk,” he said. “He’s a big-time player. I was a little nervous at first.”

As far as recruiting, the St. Patrick standout says Syracuse, Kentucky and Georgetown are after him, but that Syracuse is working the hardest at this point.

“I would say Syracuse is recruiting me the hardest right now,” he said. “We talk a lot on the phone each and every week.”

The Orange have a history of sending big guys to the NBA, something that appeals to Johnson.

“They produce a lot of big men and that’s appealing,” he said. “Just the careers that they had, if you go down the list of players that they produce they were really successful pros so that’s very appealing to me.”

With former St. Patrick head coach Kevin Boyle leaving for Montverde (Fla.) Academy, Johnson is still evaluating where to play high school ball next year.

“I’m just breaking it down,” he said. “I have three main options, Montverde, Blair [Academy] and just St. Pat’s, and some other schools. I could really go anywhere I want to, it’s just a matter of the right fit for me and my family.”

Johnson said he hopes to decide within “the next couple of weeks.”

Wherever he goes, college coaches are sure to follow his progress.

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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.