There is one South Carolina basketball player in the Class of 2012 that stands above all of his peers – literally.
Edisto forward Brice Johnson, who stands 6-foot-9, 190 pounds, is widely considered the state’s top prospect in the rising senior class. He is rated 66th nationally by ESPN and 76th by Rivals, making him the only top-100 player from the state.
Johnson has a litany of scholarship offers, including South Carolina, Florida, Miami, Wake Forest and Clemson. He hasn’t yet trimmed his list.
Johnson has been an ultra-productive prep player against Class 2A competition. The all-state performer averaged better than 23 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks per game this past season, earning Gatorade state Player of the Year honors.
Edisto coach Herman Johnson, Brice’s father, used his son in a variety of ways this season to create advantageous matchups. Brice played extensively at every position except point guard, showing an ability to play with his back to the basket and also hit the face-up jumper.
“Going to the next level he’s athletic enough that he can play [small forward],” Herman said. “He can shoot from the outside, and he can drive to the basket. He can finish. He can also handle his own [inside]. He’ll have a chance to play three, four or five at the next level.”
Growing up around the game, Herman said Brice has developed an innate basketball IQ, which helps him act as a floor general even when the ball isn’t in his hands. If his perimeter game continues to develop, Brice believes he could moonlight at small forward, though he figures to play mostly power forward in college.
“Brice has really come along,” said Will Gunter of palmettobasketball.com. “What’s really impressive is how well he plays when the competition gets better. He needs to expand his offensive game a little bit outside of about 10 feet. He needs to hit the pull-up jumper to draw people away from the basket, but he shows the ability to change shots, to rebound at a high level and to be scrappy around the basket on the offensive end.
“Even though Edisto doesn’t play the stiffest competition, he’s gone out against good competition at the AAU level and showed that he’s capable of being a top-100 prospect.”
Johnson will certainly have to add strength before he can expect to contribute as a post player for a BCS-level school, Gunter said. That may make him a candidate to be redshirted, a rarity for a player of his stature. However, a year in the weight room would likely help him make a greater impact down the road.
He’s unsure where that will be. Johnson likes what he’s seen from a number of the schools that have offered him, but he’s yet to start making any concrete decisions about what exactly he wants in a school.
“I’m just looking for the perfect fit for me,” he said, “school-wise and playing wise.”