One of the most coveted players by nearly all of the NSIC schools is coming to Northern State.
Jake Johnson of St. Francis, Minn., verbally committed to the Northern State men’s basketball on Thursday morning. The 6-foot-8, 205-pound Francis came to NSU on a visit last weekend.
“The team and the coaches were just welcoming,” Johnson said about his visit. “It was more of a gut feeling than anything.”
Johnson had offers from 11 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference schools. His final four schools were NSU, Winona State, Sioux Falls and Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb.
He also had offers from such NSIC schools as Minnesota State-Moorhead, Minot State, University of Mary, Minnesota State, Mankato and St. Cloud State. He went on an official visit to Winona State and was scheduled to officially visit the University of Sioux Falls this weekend, but canceled his trip. He also received interest from Division I Appalachian State.
He is NSU’s second known verbal commitment for the 2014 class. The Wolves also received a verbal commitment from point guard Ian Smith of Champlin Park, Minn., earlier this fall. Johnson added that Smith was another big reason why he decided to commit to NSU.
“I could just see myself in that practice gym,” Johnson added about his visit. “When they were practicing, I could just see myself playing with some of the players that they have and with that young crew they have coming in.”
Johnson played his AAU basketball with the Minnesota Fury, which is the same travelling team that produced current NSU players D.J. Pollard, Michael Schreiber and Carter Evans.
Johnson said that he can play the small forward, power forward and center spots. Johnson averaged 15.1 points last season, including a season-high 36-point outing vs. Zimmerman. He also collected 11.2 rebounds per game last season.
Now Johnson can focus on his senior season before he joins the Wolves next season.
“I’m just real excited for next year,” Johnson said.
Verbal commitments are not binding until prospects sign their national letters of intent on Nov. 13.
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