Robert Johnson (pictured above) committed to Indiana on Friday, picking the Hoosiers over North Carolina and Virginia.
RICHMOND, Va. — Robert Johnson is a Hoosier.
The four-star 2014 combo guard, since the summer a primary recruiting focus for Tom Crean and his staff, gave Indiana a much-needed commitment in the current senior class Friday, when he picked IU over North Carolina and in-state candidate Virginia. Johnson made the announcement at his school in a pre-planned Friday afternoon commitment ceremony.
"I will be attending Indiana," he said at the press conference. "I pretty much knew this whole week. I would say that I was solid on it by Tuesday."
Johnson, the No. 16 shooting guard and the No. 53 overall prospect in his class, according to 247Sports, had narrowed his field down to four schools, the three aforementioned and Florida State. Others, like Georgetown and Pitt, flirted with involvement, but in the end, Johnson visited his four finalists officially and then came to his decision.
At 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, Johnson fits Crean’s preferred profile at guard, given his ability to play the point in a back-up or part-time role and then off the ball as a shooter otherwise. Once he arrives in Bloomington, the Richmond Benedictine product is expected to backstop current point guard Yogi Ferrell and provide depth beyond that, and it appears likely there will be a role for him to fill almost immediately.
Indiana’s backcourt recruiting efforts in 2014 had largely been frustrating to this point, after losing Trey Lyles and James Blackmon Jr. to decommitments — the latter player is still an option for IU, although it’s unclear how Johnson’s decision affects that — and five-star guard Isaiah Whitehead, who committed to Seton Hall on Thursday.
Securing Johnson means rebooting a class that likely won’t grow to more than 3-4 players to begin with, and it gives Crean the guard depth he was hoping to pull from the 2014 field.
It might also help the Hoosiers with Devin Robinson, a fellow Richmond product and a close friend of Johnson’s.
Robinson is a top-30 player and one of the top wings in 2014, and while he and Johnson are not believed to have formally discussed anything resembling a package deal to college, the Hoosiers have also positioned themselves well with the 6-foot-8 forward, who will visit Bloomington officially on Oct. 4 for Hoosier Hysteria.
For the time being, though, the class belongs to Johnson, a player who only picked up his IU offer two months ago, after a strong summer on the grassroots circuit. He now plans to head to Bloomington for college.
"I'm definitely excited," he said. There's a lot of history behind Indiana's program. They have five championships and that's tied for third, if I'm not mistaken.
"It's been a while since they've had one and I want to be one of the players that helps them get another one."