'Bows net prized recruits
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
Who said quality recruits were not available at this time of year?
The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team found one in Zane Johnson a part-time starter at national power Arizona last season.
Johnson, a 6-foot-5, 205-pound shooting guard, said yesterday he will transfer from Arizona to Hawai'i.
"I think it's a little surprising to some people," Johnson said. "I never thought I'd leave U of A, but once I made that decision, I talked to the coaches at Hawai'i, and knew right away it would be a better fit."
Johnson averaged 4.6 points and 1.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore with the Wildcats last season. He played in 33 games, starting 13.
He finished third on the team with 36 3-pointers, and his .396 percentage from beyond the arc was second on the team.
"I'm known as a shooter, but I feel like I have an all-around game," Johnson said. "I didn't get to show much of it at U of A, but I feel like I'm an all-around player who can help in a lot of ways."
Johnson was one of the nation's top recruits while at Thunderbird High in Phoenix. He averaged 23.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a senior, and Sports Illustrated ranked him No. 83 on its list of Hot 100 Seniors for the 2006-07 season.
Johnson signed with Arizona under the impression that he would play for head coach Lute Olson. But Olson took a leave of absence during Johnson's freshman season, then retired during his sophomore year.
"It was crazy," Johnson said. "I wanted to play for a hall of fame coach, but I never really had a steady coach there. I just never felt comfortable with all the coaching changes. I wanted more of a sense of comfort, and that's what I like about Hawai'i."
Per NCAA transfer rules, Johnson will have to redshirt during the 2009-10 season. He will then have two seasons of eligibility for the 'Bows.
"I get to work on my game for a year and develop more skills to help the program win," he said.
Johnson was scheduled to redshirt his first season at Arizona, but was activated midway through the season.
"I'm only going to be 20 in August, so I feel like I'm still young still growing and learning," he said. "That's why I wanted to redshirt at U of A, but now I get to do it here and I'm actually looking forward to it."
Johnson has already been working out in Arizona with former teammate Jerryd Bayless, who is now playing for the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers.
"I'm in the gym all the time," Johnson said. "I can't wait to get to Hawai'i and start working out there."
Johnson made a recruiting visit to Hawai'i last week. By the time he returned to Phoenix, he knew he wanted to play for the 'Bows.
"I like the style of play I think it fits my style, and the coaching staff is great," he said. "And outside of basketball, you get to hang out at the beach in paradise. You can't beat that."
Johnson said Brigham Young and New Mexico were the other programs he considered for his transfer.
"In high school, I felt like I could just play basketball, not be restricted," he said. "I think Hawai'i will give me that feeling back."
2010 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
|Sept. 2||USC||5:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 11||at Army||TBA|
|Sept. 18||at Colorado||TBA|
|Sept. 25||Charleston Southern||TBA|
|Oct. 2||Louisiana Tech *||TBA|
|Oct. 9||at Fresno State *||TBA|
|Oct. 16||Nevada *||TBA|
|Oct. 23||at Utah State *||TBA|
|Oct. 30||Idaho *||TBA|
|Nov. 6||at Boise State *||TBA|
|Nov. 20||San Jose State *||TBA|
|Nov. 27||at New Mexico State *||TBA|