Dakari Johnson will make his college announcement tonight.
The 6-foot-11 big man from Montverde (Fla.) Academy will choose among Kentucky, Georgetown and Syracuse and announce at halftime of the Gonzaga (D.C.) vs. Salesian (Calif.) game at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU, according to Paul Biancardi.
Johnson and Montverde will play Duke-bound Jabari Parker and Chicago Simeon at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Ironically, Johnson is down to the same three schools that current Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel had on his final list.
Johnson told SNY.tv this week while in New Jersey that even if Noel and fellow freshman Willie Cauley-Stein stay at Kentucky and don’t enter the NBA Draft, he could play with the Wildcats.
“I talked to Coach Cal and it wouldn’t matter to me, even if they stayed they would push me harder in practice and I would just be better developed going against those guys every day,” he said.
Kentucky coach John Calipari and his staff watched Johnson play Friday night and is expected to watch Montverde play tonight, Dave Telep reported.
Johnson has a family connection to Kentucky, having spent several years there in middle school.
“As a parent, with you not being there in the same place as your child, you always want, kids always say, ‘I have an aunt there’ or ‘I have an uncle there,’ there’s someone to kind of look after him,” Johnson’s mother, Makini Campbell, told SNY.tv in November. “So that’s comforting for me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it might be the best fit for him, but I think that will definitely have an appeal for him.”
Should he pick the Wildcats, it would add to an already impressive 2013 class that includes Aaron and Andrew Harrison, James Young, Marcus Lee and Derek Willis. The Wildcats remain in the mix for 2013 late signees Andrew Wiggins, whom Calipari also watched Friday, and Julius Randle.
Meantime, Georgetown coach John Thompson III was in the building at Roselle Catholic Thursday night to watch Johnson. Even though the Hoyas just landed UCLA transfer Josh Smith, who becomes eligible in December, they are still in the mix for Johnson.
“Roy Hibbert, Greg Monroe, all of them their just so great, so developed and very skilled, “Johnson said of Georgetown’s tradition of big men.
Syracuse assistant Adrian Autry has been recruiting Johnson since middle school, but Johnson’s mother previously told SNY.tv she had concerns about the number of big men Syracuse had on its roster and coming in for 2013.
“I watched them ever since I was growing up in New York City,” Johnson told SNY.tv. “It’s a great school, and they have a great coach in Jim Boeheim.”
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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.