Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEWARK, N.J. — Given the revelations about the Miami athletic department in recent weeks, some recruits opted to shy away from the Hurricanes.
DeMatha Catholic guard James Robinson, for one, removed Miami from his list of four because the school is being investigated by the NCAA for the relationship rogue booster Nevin Shapiro had with Miami football players. Robinson ultimately pledged to Pittsburgh.
But St. Benedict’s Prep guard Melvin Johnson is still considering Miami among his final four, and will take an official visit there this coming weekend for Saturday’s football game against Ohio State.
“They explained what happened to them and what’s their consequences or whatever,” the 6-foot-3, 188-pound Johnson told SNY.tv. Tuesday during an open gym St. Benedict’s Prep. “It’s not too big of a deal on a basketball standpoint, just a past thing. And it’s a new coaching staff.”
First-year Miami coach Jim Larranaga was at the school Monday.
Miami has also offered Johnson’s teammates, 6-2 2013 point guard Tyler Ennis and 6-8, 215-pound 2013 forward Isaiah Watkins.
Johnson is also considering Virginia Tech, the College of Charleston and South Florida.
He took an official to Virginia Tech Sept. 2 for the football team’s 66-13 blowout of Appalachian State, and said he liked “the atmosphere, coaching staff and players.”
He also visited South Florida a week ago Monday.
“USF was great,” he said. “I also felt real welcomed by the coaching staff and players, and plus the area and facilities are beautiful.”
Johnson came to St. Ben’s from Rice High School after the latter closed down and he’s now part of a team loaded with future Division 1 players, including Ennis, Watkins, 2015 guard Isaiah Briscoe and 2013 forward Denzell Taylor.
“It’s easier,” Johnson said. “Just not having to work as hard on the offensive end. Just getting it done on the defensive end and you’re good.”
Asked to compare it to Rice, he said, “It’s a different experience, it’s a different experience.”
Though he’s excited about playing defense at St. Ben’s, he’s being recruited as a scorer.
“He can really shoot,” said one Division 1 head coach. “I mean, he can really, really shoot.”
Johnson plans to visit Miami and then make a decision “around October, early October.”
**Melvin Johnson to St. Benedict’s
(Photo courtesy NY Post)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.