Since 2020 offer Carlos Johnson has been a source of healthy contention recently, I figured I'd get an updated look at him. Last night was my first live look at Johnson since Summer 2018 on the EYBL circuit. I'm not going to go as in-depth as I did with the Zeb Jackson scouting report since Johnson has not committed.
Context/Comp Level - Benton Harbor (Top 5 team in the state, but this is a VERY down year in Michigan HS hoops) squared off vs Arbor Prep (what I'd label a below average, but not horrible team, with probably 2 NAIA prospects, 1 player above 6'4 and no depth). Benton Harbor came out hot, knocking down multiple shots from distance against a zone defense and got out to a 22-8 lead. From that point forward, Arbor Prep controlled the action for the 2nd and 3rd qtrs. as their intensity level and ability to get into the paint gave them a 59-52 lead heading into the final qtr. Benton Harbor absolutely abused Arbor Prep on the offensive glass in the final stanza, with Johnson being a man among boys, as Benton Harbor eventually pulled away with the win.
Physical Dimensions - Carlos measured in at 6'4.5 (with shoes) with a 6'7 wingspan at the 2018 Nike Elite 100. The eye test says that's accurate
Stats - Carlos finished with 40 points and & 14 rebounds
Shooting - Johnson went 5/9 from distance, 0/3 from midrange and the rest layups within 5 feet
Shooting Mechanics - Carlos does not have optimal upper body mechanics, as he has a two-motion shot where he first takes the ball nearly behind his head before starting his upward motion to release the ball. It's more of a throw than a shot, at least cosmetically. Lower body mechanics are pretty good, however. Johnson has good balance on his shot, gets solid lift and lands in the same general area where his jump commences.
Passing - Carlos is a very good stagnant passer. When he has time to survey the defense he makes great passes with zip and puts teammates in scoring positions repeatedly. He's also a very good passer in transition off the dribble where he has space. Johnson's passing ability does not really manifest as a shot creator off the dribble in the half court. He simply isn't able to create enough space to really have full vision of the court (more on that in the next section)
Ballhandling/Shot Creating - this is Carlos' biggest weakness for sure. Johnson has a high dribble, is loose with the handle too often, doesn't show the ability to change directions on the move and just can't create any space off the dribble. To sort of exacerbate the issue, Carlos doesn't have the acceleration to blow by defenders in a straight line, even against below average competition. He often takes two dribbles left before attempting to spin once the primary defender cuts his driving lane off, this results in TOs, dribbling into traffic, falling off balance with a live dribble or driving into double teams a good deal of the time. It's odd, but he doesn't appear comfortable going right at all.
Athleticism - Carlos is a below average/average athlete. He has below average lateral movement, below average acceleration, average verticality and good strength. Johnson does not possess quick twitch explosion in tight spaces but does have a nice second jump for offensive rebounds.
Motor - Carlos has a great motor, the kid will give 2nd and 3rd efforts on the glass routinely. He embraces contact and will do whatever a coach asks him to do. He probably had 10-15 points from offensive rebounds exclusively.
Projection - Johnson is VERY hard to project. He essentially has PF skill in the body of a 2/3, without the athleticism to compensate. It didn't help matters that Arbor Prep is a below average team in terms of athleticism, size and talent. I'm going to wait until this Summer where he's playing against legitimate competition on the 17u EYBL circuit before making a definitive evaluation. A lot of his projection depends on whether his outside shooting is legit, because he's certainly not an on-ball shot creator at this point. I'm a bit hesitant on his shot, as the two-motion mechanics may prove difficult to get off consistently against bigger, longer athletes.........but going in is all that matters.