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Thursday, December 20, 2012
Johnson flirts with perfection, slices list

By Dave Telep

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Chaminade-esque run of Bishop Verot (Fort Myers, Fla.) at the City of Palms Classic ended on Wednesday courtesy of national No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) and a big fella named Dakari Johnson (New York, N.Y./Montverde).

To say the Vikings couldn’t stop Johnson, the No. 1-ranked center in the ESPN 100, isn’t accurate because that would imply they did at least on occasion. Instead, Johnson carve up a depleted Verot frontline for 23 points and 10 rebounds as he went 11-for-11 from the field. Only a 2-for-4 performance from the line cost him offensive efficiency perfection.

Afterward, Johnson still couldn’t miss when he talked recruiting.

With a gaggle of media listening, he proclaimed he’s down to Syracuse, Georgetown and Kentucky. I spoke with his mother before Johnson uttered the shortened list and Mekini Campbell said Missouri (in attendance) was trying to get involved and Kansas (in attendance) and Ohio State garnered mention.

Then Johnson took the mic and called out three. Campbell said she feels like Kentucky and Syracuse have been the most active in terms of head coaches. We know Georgetown has done a lot of work as well.

“He’s looking at guys at his position and how they play in the offense and what they’ve done over a defined period of time,” Campbell said.

One especially noteworthy cut from the list was Florida. The Gators, Johnson's adopted home state team as the New York native finishes his prep career in Florida, aren’t in contention. It looks like Billy Donovan is riding Jabari Parker (who will announce on Thursday) and Julius Randle to the finish line.

But remember, the Gators aren’t in bad shape even without a center signee in the 2013 class. They have South Carolina transfer and owner of Inspector Gadget arms Damontre Harris sitting out.