Center Dakari Johnson of Florida's Montverde Academy has reclassified up to the Class of 2013 and will be slotted as the No. 12 overall player in the ESPN 100 senior class.
Johnson, a New York City native, had been ranked No. 3 in the junior class.
"Dakari's a great kid, a good student and a very talented basketball player," Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said in a statement provided by the school. "Would I like to have him at Montverde for another year? Sure I would, but I don't think this decision will hurt Dakari; he will earn a scholarship to a high Division I program, and we will likely see him in the NBA as well."
According to Makini Campbell, Johnson's mother, interest in the 6-foot-10, 260-pound center is coming from Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State and Syracuse. Last weekend, Hoyas coach John Thompson III was at Montverde to show his interest in Johnson.
This will be Johnson's third and final year of high school. To be eligible to play in college he'll need to complete an English course, and once he takes a college entrance exam he'll be eligible to take official visits. Campbell alluded to her son waiting until Montverde's season is over to go on official college visits, thus making him a spring signee.
Johnson was a member of USA Basketball's world championship U17 team last summer. However, an injury kept him out of action for most of the July evaluation period. Johnson's style of play has drawn comparisons to Andrew Bynum's, and Johnson has lost significant weight in the last six months. A good low-post scorer, he also has the skill to expand his game. There's reason to believe he'll be a center who can run the floor and be a No. 1 scoring option in college.
Johnson's movement from the Class of 2014 to 2013 caused a ripple effect through the rankings. While Johnson moved to No. 12 in the ESPN 100, guard Ja'Quon Newton of Philadelphia moved into the bottom of the ESPN 60 junior class.
Johnson is not the first elite member of the junior class to move into the senior class, either. No. 1 prospect Andrew Wiggins and No. 8 recruit Noah Vonleh have both reclassified in recent weeks.
Montverde headmaster Kasey Kesselring called Johnson's situation "unique."
"He will be one credit shy of completing his credits toward graduation at the end of this academic year," Kesselring said in the school's statement, "and after evaluating the opportunities Dakari has to transition to college next year, I have agreed to allow him to transition to the Class of 2013 and he will finish his remaining credit in summer school 2013. I make this decision with reluctance, but ultimately I do not want to selfishly inhibit Dakari from accepting opportunities that are available to him at the college level."