The Gamecocks picked up a big-time basketball player today when sophomore Villanova point guard Tyrone Johnson elected to transfer to South Carolina. Johnson chose Carolina over Illinois. He was a four-star recruit coming out of Montrose Christian High School, which is considered one of the country's best prep basketball programs--more or less a feeder school for major ACC and Big East hoops programs. Michael Carrera is also a Montrose product, and the more good will Frank Martin can create with this program, the better. As for Johnson, he was also the 52-ranked player in the country coming out according to Rivals.
The story with Johnson at Villanova is that he came in thinking he would quickly get the chance to compete for the starting point guard spot, but after suffering an injury stifled his freshman year, he lost that chance, and VU signed other players at his position in the meantime. Johnson apparently didn't feel like he was getting the opportunity he deserved, so he sought to take his talents elsewhere. The situation shouldn't be read as suggesting that Johnson isn't qualified to play big-time basketball. A quick look at what these folks have to say about Johnson suggests that many around the VU program think Johnson got short schrift from Jay Wright. Getting this guy is another big coup for the Gamecocks and Frank Martin.
Johnson brings elite athleticism to the point guard position. He's a tall, long point guard who is capable of physically imposing his will on many opposing guards. He's an aggressive player who is good at putting pressure on the opponent on both offense and defense. From what I can gather, he doesn't suffer from the same problems with ball handling that currently plague our guard play. We can use this guy in a big way.
This pickup puts Carolina in a very good position in the backcourt for the next few years. Carolina has Sindarius Thornwell and Tyrone Johnson coming in next year (Johnson will be eligible to play beginning in the spring of 2014), while Marcus Stroman comes in 2014. Now, Martin need to begin looking into finding the front court that will fill this team out and make it a legitimate contender.
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