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.
NEW YORK — Under head coach Jay Wright, Villanova has become known as Guard U.
The Wildcats landed yet another great guard from New Jersey when Tyrone Johnson of Plainfield High School made his verbal commitment exclusively on SNY.tv.
“I’ll be going to Villanova University,” the 6-foot-3, 189-pound Johnson said.” I chose Villanova because it’s a great program. Coach Wright is real great at what he does. I think Villanova is a great fit for me and my family as well and I think it can take me to the next level and where I want to be.”
Johnson, the No. 16 point guard in the Class of 2011 according to Rivals.com, chose Villanova over Rutgers and Georgetown.
Johnson averaged 18.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.2 steals last season. He made 31 of 86 3-pointers (36 percent) and 154 of 218 free throws (71 percent). He led Plainfield to a 26-4 record and appearances in the Union County Tournament and Group 4 state title games.
Johnson will join Achraf Yacoubou in the Villanova backcourt in 2011. Yacoubou is a 6-4 combo guard from Long Island Lutheran.
At that point, current seniors Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes — both of whom played their high school ball in the Garden State — will be gone. Rising sophomore point guard Maalik Wayns will either be a junior or have left early for the NBA, meaning Johnson will either back up Wayns or be in position to start at the point.
“Me and Ach went to NBA [Top 100] Camp together so we got a good relationship,” Johnson said. “My role is just basically to be a hard worker and come in and play. It depends on if Maalik Wayns is still going to be there. If he’s not there, then I’ll just be coming as a freshman point guard starting. Even if he is there, I’ll still have a chance coming and playing big minutes.
“Ach coming in as a straight shooter, I think me and him will have some great chemistry in the backcourt.”
Derrick Bobbitt is Johnson’s mentor and assistant AAU coach on a Team Final squad that also includes Kentucky-bound wing Michael Gilchrist, Syracuse-bound guard Trevor Cooney, and uncommitted big man Rakeem Christmas.
“If Ty continues to improve at the rate he’s improving he can have an immediate impact as a freshman,” Bobbitt said. “He’s a relatively big guard who can keep pressure on the defense a lot like Rajon Rondo with his play-making ability on the offensive end and can potentially create havoc on defense with his length and athleticism.”
As for his immediate plans, Johnson is still deciding whether to remain at Plainfield for his senior season or play at Montrose Christian in Virginia.
“Right now I’m undecided,” he said. “There’s some things I still want to go over before I make a choice.”
Johnson was rated the top point guard at the recent Deron Williams Skills Academy in Chicago and he leaves Monday for the LeBron James Academy in Akron, Ohio along with Christmas and Cooney.
“I’m really excited going out there,” he said. “Me and a couple of teammates, Rakeem Christmas and Trevor Cooney, are going out there to do work. It’s great to have them with me, but like I told them, when we’re out there, it’s all about business.”
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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.