As we chronicled late last week, the focus for the coaching staff has turned to 2012 recruiting. Just last week, we reported that the coaching staff had made an appearance at Westwind Prep Academy to check out elite small forward prospect Demarquise Johnson. With the AAU season kicking off last weekend, and the key summer months of recruiting rapidly approaching, we decided to get the skinny on Demarquise "Que" Johnson from Marvin Lea, one of the AAU coaches at Team Eleate.We would like to thank Coach Lea for taking the time to answer these questions and give Gonzaga fans a nice profile for the type of prospect that "Que" Johnson has become.
With a combo guard type prospect that can play both positions on the wing seeming to be a clear priority in the upcoming recruiting class, it's not a surprise that Que Johnson has earned a scholarship offer from the coaching staff. As a junior at Westwind Prep Academy, Johnson averaged 20.8 ppg and helped lead his team to a state championship. While his shooting ability is well-documented, according to Lea, Johnson also possesses elite athleticism.
What has made Johnson's recruitment so interesting to follow is the fact that he has really burst onto the scene in the past six months. According to Lea, the reason for the consistent improvement and development from Johnson revolves around the confidence he has in his abilities.
"What separates Que from other players, is that he is an extremely gifted athlete, who can win a dunk contest and three point contest on the same night," explained Lea. "A few years ago he was just a shooter, but as he matures and gains confidence, his athleticism is becoming a big asset to his game."
"He has unlimited range, a smooth stroke and is athletic," raved the Team Eleate coach. "He just needs to continue to get physically stronger and keep improving his ball handling. He's just now starting to feel he's one of the nation's elite players, so the sky is the limit. Two years ago, it was his confidence holding him back, but now, as he's getting that confidence, his game has taken off tremendously."
Gonzaga first made its interest in "Que" clear during this past season, when assistant coach Donny Daniels had the opportunity to see him play. However, it will be a battle to land this elite prospect, as a host of other schools are showing interest.
"Demarquise has been recruited by the 'Zags since midway through this past season," Lea explained. "Donny Daniels has been the main coach recruiting Que. Along with the 'Zags. San Diego St., Arizona St., Minnesota and Virginia are schools that have been expressing the most interest lately."
With plans to take his visits following a busy summer with Team Eleate, it will be great for Gonzaga fans to follow "Que" this summer, as he and his Eleate teammates will be playing in some of the elite AAU tournaments in the coming months.
"He (Que) will play in Rumble in the Bronx, Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis, Mullen's Invitational in St Louis, Fab 48 in Las Vegas and Best of the Summer in CA."