ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla appreciates Jasper Johnson’s scoring ability

Published 4:07 pm Thursday, June 6, 2024

Jasper Johnson is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this week with USA Basketball playing in the FIBA U18 AmeriCup along with 11 other talented USA players.

The former Woodford County High School standout who transferred to Link Academy (Branson, Mo.) for his junior season has over 20 scholarship offers including Kentucky, North Carolina, Auburn, Baylor, Kansas, Louisville and Texas A&M.

ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla considers himself a “hoops junkie.” He’s a former head coach at Manhattan, St. John’s and New Mexico and had his first chance to watch Johnson in person at the USA tryout camp.

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“He is not athletically as dynamic as (former UK guard/NBA star) De’Aaron Fox but his smooth lefty game does remind me of De’Aaron,” Fraschilla said. “A lot of guys are shooters but not many are makers. He scores so effortlessly and just has unique skills. I was really impressed with not only his outside shooting but also his ability to get to the basket and be a very creative scorer.

“To be a great scorer you have got to be able to get your own shot off and he has a knack for getting his shots. He’s not piggish at all. He didn’t look to take a shot every time he touched the ball on a team with very good future point guards. But to me, he is the best scoring guard they have.

“When I coached a guy like Jasper, I always told my staff, ‘Let’s not over complicate this. He needs to score.’ He can really add to this team with all he does but there’s no doubt his strength is putting the ball in the basket.”

Fraschilla knows Johnson is in the “early stages of his physical maturity” just like other players on the USA team. Fraschilla said Johnson, who played football two years at Woodford County, could hold his own physically now.

“He is a very elusive player. He just knows how to get himself into the right places, especially driving to the basket,” Fraschilla said. “FIBA play will be much more physical but you can’t be physical with somebody you can’t catch and he’s that fast and elusive.”

Johnson has not ruled out reclassifying and playing college basketball next season even though the more likely path could be for him to play in Overtime Elite next season before going to college.

“A lot of schools are recruiting him and I think he could handle playing at a high Power 5 school but if it was me I would have him spend a year at OTE,” the ESPN analyst said. “When he

comes into college, he could be an instant impact scorer. If he reclassifies, rosters are relatively full already.

“But if he waits another year to play college basketball he is more likely to go where he’ll have a bigger role and opportunity for him. Right now a lot of teams are loaded in the backcourt and another year of experience before going to college could not hurt him. OTE is not high school but it could benefit him to use another year to further develop his team. If he stays in the class of 2025, his first college game won’t be for 18 months and he will be an instant impact player if he goes to the right place.”

Fraschilla said Johnson could improve his overall court vision and work on becoming an even better playmaker and defense. He will also get stronger in the next year.

“Right now it’s apparent he’s a scorer and there’s nothing wrong with that and those players are hard to find. Putting the ball in the basket is much easier said than done. A lot of guys who are highly ranked think they can score but they are not efficient scorers. What I like about him is how effortlessly he makes it look and you cannot teach that.”

Krysten Peek, YahooSports draft analyst and Rivals high school/college basketball writer, was also at the USA Trials and got to watch Johnson.

“The biggest impression I’m leaving (the USA Trials) with is how consistent Jasper Johnson is as a perimeter shooter and how much more room he has to add to his overall game outside of being a catch-and-shoot shooter,” Peek said.