This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

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Checking in with Gophers target Jarvis Johnson

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: April 28, 2013 - 11:27 AM

Jarvis Johnson is a 2015 point guard at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis. The Brooklyn Park native’s greatest strength is his speed and ability to change directions quickly. The 6-1, 185-pound Johnson is currently working on improving his jumper.

For Jarvis Johnson, this latest sliver of his Minnesota recruitment has zipped by.

He first spoke with new coach Richard Pitino and Co. in the middle of last week, attending a Gophers team meeting with a few of his AAU teammates. The Minnesota staff watched him play in a Los Angeles EYBL tournament, where he performed impressively. A few days later, on Monday, Pitino offered the DeLaSalle sophomore a scholarship.

It’s a notable change of pace from Tubby Smith and the previous coaching staff, which hadn’t offered Johnson at all, and barely communicated with him, the guard said.

“Not very often,” Johnson said. “I mean, I already know the new coaching staff this year better than I knew the coaching staff last year. They’ve been pretty cool.”

Johnson, who currently has offers from nine programs, started getting a lot of interest as a freshman. So it was a little frustrating to him that he hadn’t caught the eye of his home town school.

“It affected me,” Johnson said. “I mean, [Smith] came to a lot of games, but I guess he never really thought I was that good.”

Johnson has already formed a bond with new assistant Ben Johnson, who was recruiting him last season at Nebraska. And Pitino has made a good first impression with the Brooklyn Park native, who called the coach “laid back” and “a cool guy.”

He’s still not ready to say that Minnesota has jumped to the top of the list – as a sophomore, he has plenty to mull, after all – but he’s very pleased to have the school he grew up around as an option.

“It means a lot,” the 6-1, 185 Johnson said. “A lot of kids like to stay at home and play in front of their fans and their family and friends and not a lot of people get to do that.”

Other notes on Johnson:

  • Currently, Johnson’s offers are Minnesota, Penn State, Iowa State, Creighton, Northern Iowa, New Mexico State, Buffalo, Wyoming and Toledo.
  • Johnson’s sister, Tyseanna, will be attending Iowa State on scholarship this season, but that will not impact Jarvis’ decision, he said. “She went through the process and I’m going through the process,” he said.
  • Johnson has unofficially visited Iowa State and Minnesota. He doesn’t have any trips planned currently.
  • The biggest determining factor of his eventual decision will be the coach, Johnson said. Of Pitino: “He knows what he’s talking about.”
  • Johnson on Minnesota’s campus: “It’s nice. I like that it’s directly in the city and everything is close, close to home.”

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