Versatility and size are two attributes that come in handy in the game of basketball. A combination of both makes for a dangerous player. Florida is getting a guy with both in class of 2017 forward Chase Johnson. The 6’8 big man from Huntington Prep in West Virginia will be bringing a unique skill set to Gainesville.
The way Johnson loves to play is the same way that the Gators look to play. Johnson wants to run the floor and make plays. The ability to shoot the ball well from distance makes him difficult to guard.
“I like to get up and down the floor. I feel that I’m really athletic and that I finish well at the rim,” Johnson Said. “I can shoot the mid-range jumper well, as well as the 3 point shot. I can handle the ball pretty well so that allows me to be versatile.”
Shooting the deep ball is a standard in Johnson’s game. He realizes that the college 3 point line will take some getting used to so he has been putting in the time to get accustomed to it.
“I am really working on stepping back to the college 3 point line,” he said. “After practice that is something that I am working on and looking to improve in. One dribble pull ups is another thing that I want to get better at. Getting to the basket in 1 dribble is something I need to be able to do at a high rate in college.”
Former Kansas star Andrew Wiggins is a guy that Johnson compares his game too. I’m sure the Gators wouldn’t mind Johnson having the impact on his team like Wiggins did for the Jayhawks.
“Andrew Wiggin’s is the guy that I compare my game too,” Johnson said. “He is athletic and big and can really shoot the ball. He can also really handle the ball. I see a lot of my game in the way he plays.”
The recruiting process had its ups and downs for Johnson. Hard work and determination has put the future Gator in the position he is in today.
“My recruitment didn’t blow up into the end of July after the last live period,” he said. “Florida recruited me my sophomore year just a little bit. Florida stopped during my junior year. I was playing in Richmond that summer and had a big game and after the game, Florida called me and showed interest. They told me that they were going to follow me the rest of the summer. Once the summer was over, they offered me a scholarship. When the offer came I knew I wanted to go on an official visit and check out the campus.”
Growing up Johnson enjoyed watching Florida play. Whenever Florida was playing, you could find the game on Johnson’s TV.
“I have been watching Florida on TV forever,” Johnson said. “I have always loved the way that they play. They love to get up and down and capitalize on fast breaks. Florida has such a rich basketball tradition and I have always enjoyed watching them play.”
The Florida coaching staff has made a great impression on the versatile forward. The relationship between him and the staff is the main reason on why he picked Florida.
“I think that I have a great relationship with Coach [Mike] White and Coach [Darris] Nichols,” he said. “When I went on my official visit they were there to greet me and to show me around. I went down when they hosted Arkansas and I got to spend some great time with them. I think I have a very good relationship with them.”
Versatility is what Johnson thinks he will bring to the table for his freshman season. The ability to play inside and out, as well as guard multiple positions makes him a special player.
“My offensive game is very versatile,” Johnson said. “I like to be active and move around without the ball. I love getting the pick and roll game going as well as the pick and pop. I am a versatile defender too who can guard point guards off switches.”
The Gators tournament run was very encouraging for Johnson to see. Johnson believes that this season’s success was just a glimpse of what is to come.
“I think Florida had a great tournament,” he said. “I thought they played really well. They held their own against some of the top-ranked teams in the nation. In his second year, there Coach White has already made it to the elite eight so that really says something. The staff has set a great foundation and the future is bright.”