June 17, 2013 by Seth Rubinroit
By Seth Rubinroit
Stanley Johnson slowly emerged from the Galen Center Friday night, clutching two sports drinks in his left hand.
Nobody can blame Johnson for needing extra refreshments. Last weekend, he was dominating the Pangos All-American Camp, earning most outstanding player honors. This past weekend, Johnson was participating in the USC Elite Basketball Camp, just hours after taking his final exams at Mater Dei High School, where he said he has a 3.2 GPA.
After hugging his mother, Karen Taylor, Johnson spoke with GalenCentral.com about his recruitment. The Trojans appear to have several advantages in their pursuit of Johnson:
Johnson grew in Fullerton, and attends Mater Dei in Santa Ana. While competing for USA basketball, Johnson had the opportunity to travel the world. He played in the Canary Islands, Lithuania and Mexico.
“I love California of course,” Johnson said, “but I would go somewhere else to play.”
Nevertheless, his family and friends reside in Southern California.
“A lot of the people who grew up watching me play would not be able to go out and see me play if I go to Arizona or Kentucky or Florida,” Johnson said. “They would be able to easily come to the Galen Center to watch me play, which is a big plus.”
Relationship with the USC coaching staff
Watching Johnson and USC associate coach Tony Bland interact is like watching two old friends casually exchange laughs and inside jokes.
“Tony was the first coach to ever call me, when he was with San Diego State,” Johnson said. “We have a really good relationship. He was really the only reason I was considering San Diego State. Him coming here is another plus. He is a great coach and person. I really trust him. Now that he is closer to home, it is more realistic than San Diego State was. He is really putting his foot on the gas pedal and telling me everything good about [USC].”
Johnson saw Andy Enfield coach at Florida Gulf Coast, and looks forward to seeing how Enfield implements his system during his first season at USC.
“Next year will be big for me to see how the coaching staff handles the offense,” Johnson said.
Mater Dei to USC Pipeline
Walking around the USC campus, chances are good you will see a student-athlete wearing the interlocking “MD” logo of the Mater Dei Monarchs.
Mater Dei point guard Mike Gerrity made an immediate impact at USC after transferring from Charlotte in 2009. Numerous football stars went from Mater Dei to USC, including Matt Barkley, Khaled Holmes and Matt Leinart.
“There are a lot of Trojans around me,” Johnson said. “I am taking it all in and hearing what they have to say.”
The latest Monarch to become a Trojan is Katin Reinhardt, who transferred to USC from UNLV.
“Katin loves it [at USC],” Johnson said. “We have fun playing together, and we are really good friends off the court.”
While at UNLV, Reinhardt and Johnson, who played together at Mater Dei, talked almost everyday.
“Stanley and I have been friends since he was in eighth grade,” Reinhardt told Max Meyer of GalenCentral.com. “We are real close, so we talk a lot. I talk to him about coming to play again with me like we did in high school, but we would be even better, and how much fun it would be. But I cannot say too much about his recruitment.”
Reinhardt will be eligible to play at USC in 2014, the same year Johnson will enroll in college.
“It would be a good situation for both of us,” Johnson said. “We would both be in the backcourt, and we could do our thing.”
Do not expect Johnson to announce his collegiate destination anytime soon. In order to ensure he makes the right choice, Johnson said that he plans on waiting until the regular signing day in April of 2014 to make his decision.
Johnson is quite aware that Mater Dei players have a reputation for transferring. Think of David and Travis Wear (North Carolina to UCLA), Gary Franklin Jr. (California to Baylor), and even Gerrity and Reinhardt.
“I do not plan on transferring, ever,” Johnson said. “That is the elephant in the room because it is the trend. A lot of players at Mater Dei make the decision based on other people, but I am making the decision based on myself.”
Johnson listens to the advice he is given, but is able to think for himself.
“My parents are cool,” Johnson said. “They can tell me a lot of things, but at the end of the day, I am the one who has to make the decision on where I am going.”
Special thanks to Coral Silverberg and Ryan MacDougall for participating in the interview with Stanley Johnson, and to Olivia Aparicio for filming and editing the footage. Follow @USCGalenCentral for more recruiting updates.