PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 16, 2017) - Men's basketball coach Steve Pikiell announced today that incoming freshman forward/center Myles Johnson has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Rutgers University and compete for the Scarlet Knights. A Long Beach Press Telegram First Team Dream Team selection, Johnson has a 7-foot, 2-inch wing span and maintains a grade point average above 4.0 at Long Beach (Calif.) Polytechnic High School.
"We are thrilled to welcome Myles Johnson to our Scarlet Knight family," said Pikiell. "Myles checks all the boxes we look for in a student-athlete, as we aim to build our roster to compete with the best in the Big Ten and beyond. On the court, he's a big and long shot blocker with a tremendous skill set. His ability to pass and shoot will give our frontcourt a terrific boost in those areas. His upside is off the charts and our staff is eager to help him develop his game even further once he arrives on campus. Off the court, Myles is a high character young man who comes from a wonderful family. Myles is a highly motivated student who will be a terrific ambassador for not only the Rutgers Basketball program, but the University as a whole."
A three-star rated recruit by ESPN, Rivals and Scout, Johnson was a 2017 McDonald's All-America Game nominee.
"I can play both in the high and low post," said Johnson. "I'm a rim protector who blocks shots. My passing is probably my biggest strength, as I pride myself on good court vision and a strong basketball I.Q."
A four-year varsity basketball letterwinner under head coach Shelton Diggs, Johnson helped the Jackrabbits to a 22-9 record in 2016-17. He had eight points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks against a nationally-ranked Chino Hills team that featured LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball in the CIF playoffs and scored 13 points with 15 rebounds versus Orange Lutheran in the Nike Extravaganza.
"Rutgers is getting an excellent basketball player and a tremendous student," said Diggs. "He's a big-bodied kid who really works hard and is a true post player. He will be able to score with his back to the basket, but will also pass very well. I think Rutgers got a major steal out of the West Coast."
A four-time LBPHS Student-Athlete Award winner and National Honor Society member, Johnson maintained a grade point average above 4.0 throughout his high school career due to his performance in advance placement classes. He did not compete on the hardwood as a junior due to a patella injury suffered in practice.
"Rutgers is in the Big Ten Conference and offered the best combination of academics and athletics," said Johnson. "It has a top engineering program. When I spoke with the Dean of Engineering, she explained the opportunity and the support that is required to be successful. That was very important to me, because I know how challenging it is going to be to balance engineering and basketball."
On the AAU circuit, Johnson competed for the Los Angeles Rockfish under program director Dave Benezra and head coach Glenn Marx.
"Myles is different because of his skill level. He is a highly-skilled post player," said Benezra. "We have been fortunate to have eight bigs go to the NBA over time and none of them had his skill level at this stage. He's usually the best passer on the floor, regardless of who is in the game. He still has upside, as he is getting stronger from his injury. Going into his sophomore season at Rutgers, he should be a more complete player and people will get to see what he can really do."
Under Pikiell, whose 9-1 start marked the best head-coaching debut in Rutgers men's basketball history, the Scarlet Knights more than doubled their overall win total and tripled their conference victory total last season. Rutgers achieved a plus-117 rank improvement in RPI, as well as major NCAA ranking improvements in rebound margin (+299), scoring defense (+272), three point FG defense (+247), offensive rebounds (+244), rebounds (+232), field goal percentage defense (+226) and blocks (+114). The Scarlet Knights ranked among the top 100 in 10 NCAA statistical categories, including among the top 50 in seven, after ranking among the top 150 in just two statistical categories in 2015-16.
"I could tell right away that Coach Pikiell is a family person and I respect that," said Johnson. "I see myself as a family person. He's an honest guy with a good vibe. I can see us developing a strong relationship."
Forward/Center - 6-10, 245
Long Beach, Calif.
Scholastic: Will be a 2017 graduate of Long Beach (Calif.) Polytechnic High School, which was selected by Sports Illustrated as the "Sports School of the Century" after producing numerous NBA, MLB and a record 30-plus NFL players ... A four-year varsity basketball letterwinner under head coach Shelton Diggs ... Was a Long Beach Press Telegram First Team Dream Team selection as a senior, helping the Jackrabbits to a 22-9 record ... Had eight points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks against a nationally-ranked Chino Hills team that featured LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball in the CIF playoffs ... Scored 13 points and had 15 rebounds versus Orange Lutheran in the Nike Extravaganza ... Is rated as a three-star recruit by ESPN, Rivals and Scout ... A McDonald's All-America Game nominee ... Suffered a patella injury in practice and did not compete his entire junior season .... A four-time LBPHS Student-Athlete Award winner and National Honor Society member ... Maintained a grade point average above 4.0 throughout his high school career due to performance in advance placement classes ... Competed on the AAU circuit for the Los Angeles Rockfish under director Dave Benezra and coach Glenn Marx.
Personal: Interested in engineering ... Son of Rick and Gigi Johnson ... Selected the Scarlet Knights over offers from Georgia Tech, Yale and Hawaii ... Had scholarship offers from four Ivy League programs.
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