Dakari Johnson, one of the best high school big men in America regardless of class, has reclassified to 2013 from 2014.
“Dakari’s a great kid, a good student and a very talented basketball player,” Montverde (Fla.) Academy coach Kevin Boyle said in a statement provided by the school.
“Would I like to have him at Montverde for another year? Sure I would, but I don’t think this decision will hurt Dakari; he will earn a scholarship to a high Division I program, and we will likely see him in the NBA as well.”
The 6-foot-10 Johnson previously played for Sayre High School in Lexington, Ky., as an eighth-grader, and for Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick, where he played alongside Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the former Kentucky star now with the Charlotte Bobcats.
Johnson is one of several high-profile players to move from 2014 to 2013, following 6-8 Huntington (W.V.) Prep small forward Andrew Wiggins, who remains uncommitted; 6-4 wing Wayne Selden of The Tilton (N.H.) School, who committed to Kansas; and Noah Vonleh, a 6-9 power forward from New Hampton (N.H.).
Johnson’s mother, Makini Campbell, said in a statement: “Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State and Syracuse have expressed interest in Dakari; however, our focus right now will be on Dakari’s academics and his high school season; we will evaluate his college opportunities but will wait until the season is over before taking any official visits. Right now, I just want to keep him focused on school and his team.”
Syracuse, Kentucky and Georgetown have been involved with Johnson dating to his time at St. Pat’s. At one point in 2011, he told SNY.tv that “Syracuse is recruiting me the hardest right now.”
He plays on a loaded Montverde team that also includes Florida-bound point guard Kasey Hill and uncommitted 2014 guard D’Angelo Russell, a Louisville native.
This past summer, he won a gold medal with the U.S. U17 National Team, but missed the end of the event and the Nike Global Challenge because of a strained right groin.
“[Johnson] is legitimately one of the best big kids in the country in terms of drawing fouls on the other players,” Boyle told SNY.tv this summer. “Aside from scoring and rebounding he usually puts the best four or five [on the other team] on the bench because of foul trouble. So he’s helping the team defensively by putting the other team’s starters on the bench because he’s so massive and skilled at getting fouls.”
Photo: Courtesy Dakari Johnson