Shaka Smart and his staff pulled off a late recruiting coup with the signing of four-star guard Melvin Johnson. Johnson is a legitimate top-100 recruit and is eligible right away. Although he’s missed several weeks of summer practice, he should have an opportunity to win minutes right away.
The scouting report on the 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard is that he can flat out score the basketball and is a good spot-up shooter with terrific range. He fills a need right away for VCU, which needed another shooter and scorer after losing Bradford Burgess. At worst, he’ll provide competition in one of the deepest stable of VCU guards in a while.
This is also another strong signal that VCU and Shaka Smart are making headway in their recruiting battles. Other than Jamie Skeen (who was a transfer), I don’t remember the last four-star VCU recruit (partially because I’ve only been here since 2005 and partially because I don’t follow recruiting as closely as some others). Now, the Rams will welcome two, Jordan Burgess and Johnson, in the same recruiting class. Final Four, Shaka Smart, Atlantic 10, whatever, it’s working. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it doesn’t hurt.
Here’s Johnson carving up defenses earlier this year at the Hoop Group Elite camp. No word on if Johnson will wear No. 682 as a Ram.
If that isn’t enough, this should tell you a lot about what kind of player Johnson is. In January, his coach at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J., Mark Taylor, had this to say about the Bronx, N.Y. native:
“Jay Williams is the best overall guard I ever coached, but Melvin is the best shooting guard. As soon as one foot steps over halfcourt, he has that killer instinct to score the basketball. He has the range and the quickness to score from anywhere on the court. He can spot up or take it off the dribble and he’s very unselfish, too. He’s also a tremendous kid with a great work ethic.”
Here’s more from that interview: High School Performer of the Week (The Star-Ledger).