Moon basketball star Donovan Johnson joining brother Cameron in Arizona
Monday, August 19, 2019 | 9:21 PM
Moon basketball star Donovan “Puff” Johnson is joining older brother Cameron in Arizona.
Johnson, whose senior season here was in question, has enrolled at powerhouse Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix, his father said. The decision to transfer was made Monday, he said.
“It’s a very, very good school,” Gil Johnson said. “A Top 5 basketball program and all the academic support he could ever desire there. It’s a good situation for his situation.”
The 6-foot-7 standout averaged 22.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game last season as Moon went 28-2 and won the state Class 5A title. He was named the TribLive HSSN Player of the Year.
He’ll play shooting guard for Hillcrest Prep, the alma mater of Deandre Ayton, the NBA draft’s No. 1 overall pick in 2018. The prep school currently has a lineup full of four- and five-star prospects.
Gil Johnson said a number of prep schools reached out to recruit Donovan — including IMG Academy and Brewster Academy — but Hillcrest was Donovan’s choice. His brother Cameron was drafted this summer by the Phoenix Suns, so the Johnson family already has connections in Arizona.
The Johnsons also are close with Arizona coach Sean Miller, who played college basketball with Gil Johnson at Pitt.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Gil Johnson said. “The kid who was playing that position (at Hillcrest) left to play overseas. Cameron gets drafted by Phoenix. Arizona offers (a scholarship) and then Hillcrest comes around. Everything happens for a reason when you do the right thing.”
Johnson was ruled ineligible to play at Moon next season under a PIAA rule that restricts athletes to six interscholastic seasons starting in seventh grade. Because Johnson repeated eighth grade and played basketball both years — first at Moon and then at Rhema Christian School — he’s already reached that limit, according to the WPIAL.
At Hillcrest Prep, Johnson joins a team that recently added Milwaukee native Michael Foster, the No. 6 player in the ESPN Class of 2021 rankings. The 6-10 power forward transferred in May.
Sadraque Nganga, another 6-10 forward and the 25th-ranked prospect in 2022, enrolled at Hillcrest earlier this month. Keon Edwards, a five-star prospect from Texas, also transferred there this year. The 6-6 forward is ranked 18th overall in the 2021 class.
ESPN ranks Johnson 61st overall in the 2020 class. He’s 47th overall in the 247sports composite rankings.
Johnson recently narrowed his college option to eight schools: Pitt, Arizona, Georgetown, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .