Former Ky. prep star had hot summer on hoops circuit

Published 12:00 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

Former Woodford County standout Jasper Johnson leaves this week for Link Academy, the 2023 GEICO Nationals champion in Branson, Missouri. He is a top-25 recruit nationally and No. 1 combo guard in the 2025 recruiting class. He led Woodford to its first state tournament berth since 1986 last season and averaged a team-high 20.1 points per game as a sophomore.

On the Nike EYBL circuit, he helped Team Thad finish 14-3 and averaged 12.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 51 percent overall, 40 percent from 3 and 84 percent at the foul line.

“Being able to play for Team Thad on the EYBL circuit helped me get a lot of exposure that I wanted,” Johnson said. “I worked hard for it and it helped me out in the long run. I thought I would do as well as I did. I worked hard all offseason to prepare myself and I think I did pretty well.”

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He already has a Kentucky scholarship offer along with many others, including one from Baylor last week. Alabama, Cincinnati, Ohio State, Louisville, Memphis and North Carolina are other schools he feels are prioritizing him the most so far.Johnson also attended several elite camps where he said there was no pressure on him.

“I just played and it was a great opportunity to play in front of a lot more eyes and scouts. I also made a lot of new relationships with players I did not know before,” he said.

He especially liked the CP3 Elite Camp put on by NBA star Chris Paul in California because he got to meet a lot of NBA players.

Johnson has taken a few days off recently but not many because he wants to be ready to play when he gets to Missouri this week. He’s also continuing to deal with recruiting.

“Coaches are still calling, reaching out and texting. Right now it is all going good with communication. I am starting to look at some schools and then take some visits in the offseason and then some during the season too,” he said.

There has been some speculation that he might reclassify to the 2024 recruiting class but his grandmother, Rosetta Johnson, talks about the value of him spending two more years in high school to prepare academically and athletically for college.

“As of right now, I will be staying in the 2025 class. I don’t think I will be reclassifying,” he said. “My grandmother shared a little bit of wisdom with me. She always says to follow my heart and she really helps me a lot, but I know how much she values education.”

He will be spending a lot of time on the road next season as Link Academy only has two home games scheduled. Other games will be against top competition across the country with a chance he might return to Kentucky for a game or two with his team.