Florida Gulf Coast 2014 Recruiting Profile: Zach Johnson

(Courtesy of SFHS Sports)
Zach Johnson
Height & Weight: 6'2" | 180 lb.
School: Norland (Miami, Fla.)
Position: Point Guard
Rating: 3-Star
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Johnson's Meteoric Rise Coming At Perfect Time For FGCU

Two summers ago Zach Johnson was a little known commodity. The 6'2" guard had yet to become a household name when it came to high school basketball in the Sunshine State. That would soon change.

After spending his freshman and sophomore years at Miramar High School, Johnson transferred to nearby Miami Norland High.

"I believed my game would excel if I transferred there," Johnson said. "Also I wanted to win a state championship. I think it was the best decision for me.

The dynamic guard exploded onto the Florida scene in his junior year, building on a productive regular season to dominant the state playoffs. His impressive surge drew attention from high major schools such as Florida State and Miami.

'Game would excel' - goal accomplished.

"It was really preparation. We played great teams all year and that just prepared me for all the upcoming teams in the state playoffs," Johnson said.

Once in Lakeland for the state final four, Johnson continued to make huge strides as he lead the Vikings in scoring. With a 42-30 victory over Pine Forest, Norland captured their second straight 6A State Title.

'Win a state championship' - goal accomplished.

With back to back state titles, Norland was the 6A team to beat entering the 2013-14 season. But still, Johnson stayed focused.

"We try not to put too much pressure on ourselves. We continued to do what we did - work hard and we knew good things would come."

But before his senior season began, Johnson had to make his college decision. He held a plethora of offers, including FGCU, Murray State, Butler, and Tennessee.

Well you know how the story ends - Johnson choose the Eagles, for a multitude of reasons. One came in the form of Providence guard Christian Terrell, who had committed just months before.

"Christian was a big factor in my commitment. He's a great person and a great basketball player," Johnson said. "We will be a great backcourt."

"I loved the coaches. Dooley has great experience and has coached amazing players. Coach Fly and Coach Richter - I built a great relationship with them," Johnson added. "The school that was on me from the beginning is the one I wanted to choose. Florida Gulf Coast was there from day one and they showed me that I was number one on their list."

Knowing where he would spend the next four years, Johnson continued his tear as a Viking. Norland strode through the playoffs and secured a state title three peat with a 60-44 win over Lake Minneola. Johnson scored a game high 19 points and was eventually named to the 6A All-State team by the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches.

Johnson's spectacular climb through the high school basketball has him peaking at the right time and heading to a deep Florida Gulf Coast team that seems primed for another NCAA Tournament appearance.

Check out our two other recruiting profiles: Christian Terrell and Eric Moeller.

Point Guard Michael Green Talks Florida Gulf Coast Offer

South Plantation High School point guard Michael Green picked up a scholarship offer from Florida Gulf Coast on Monday night.

The Eagles offer marks the second of his young career, the first coming from Northern Arizona.

"It means a lot when it comes closer to making my decision. Not a lot of schools show interest this early," Green said about the Eagles offering early. "I like the effort they put forth into recruiting me. I know it means a lot for recruiting a small kid like I am. It shows that they really want me."

While Green is only 5'11" in the South Plantation jersey, what he lacks in height, he makes up for in quickness and finishing ability. With the high school season over, Green runs the AAU circuit with Team Breakdown - the former home of 2014 FGCU commit Zach Johnson.

"Zach has also been recruiting me. He's been telling me how much he likes the program, how good they've treated him and how he gets along with the team," Green said. "It's not just the coaches, I have a friend telling me it's a good school and good program."

Back on Feb. 8, the two guards out of southern Florida took in Florida Gulf Coast's 73-46 victory over North Florida.

"I loved the intensity of the crowd. I liked the support that the fans show to the basketball team," Green said. "The campus itself is beautiful. I could see myself staying there for the next four years when I go to college. They make me feel really comfortable. I liked the way the staff and the fans treated me."

With a Florida Gulf Coast visit and offer in his pocket, Green is also attracting interest from Florida State, UCF, USF, Mercer, and Georgia among others.

For more on FGCU, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@FGCUEaglesNest)

FGCU Offers Small Forward And Point Guard From South Florida

Monday became a busy night for FGCU recruiting as the Eagles extended scholarship offers to both 2015 point guard Michael Green, of South Plantation High School (Fla.), and 2015 small forward Keith Stone, of Zion Lutheran High School (Fla.).

Green is a quick 5'11" guard out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He is great at getting to the rim and has a range that extends well beyond the three point line. Considering he was just offered by #DunkCity this probably doesn't come as much of a surprise, but Green can get up and slam as well. Joe Dooley traveled to see him today and FGCU becomes his 2nd scholarship offer, the first being Northern Arizona. During the AAU season, Green plays for the same squad, Team Breakdown, as current Eagles signee Zach Johnson played for.

Another South Florida product, Keith Stone also picked up an offer from Florida Gulf Coast on Monday night. Eagles head coach Joe Dooley watched Stone in a workout. The 6'7" small forward works well inside and a nice shot fake that opens up his mid-range jumper. Stone plays smooth in transition also. FGCU's offer marks his sixth scholarship, one other comes from Atlantic Sun foe North Florida.

For more on FGCU, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@FGCUEaglesNest)

White Sox Ace Chris Sale Continues Domination, Lacks Run Support

Although Chris Sale's unorthodox release caused many teams to overlook him, the former Florida Gulf Coast stud has those front offices shaking their heads in regret.

Now in his fifth season with the White Sox, Sale has grown into Chicago's reliable ace. Thursday night was no exception. The southpaw built a no hitter into the sixth inning and ended the night with 10 strikeouts, and only one earned run allowed over seven innings.

Boston's Jon Lester was also working a perfect game until it was broken up in the sixth inning by Tyler Flowers. On the other hand, Sale's bid for a no hitter was broken up by a solo shot courtesy of Xander Bogaerts

"It’s kind of who is going to crack first. I think I lost that one by about 490 feet," said Sale, the two time All Star.

Unfortunately in what has become a common situation for Sale, the White Sox were unable to provide much run support. Adam Eaton's RBI single in the sixth inning scored Chicago's lone run of the contest.

"I don’t think we got outpitched or outhit," Sale said. "We got outlucked I think."

Sale threw out a career high 127 pitches and has now gone over 100 pitches in every outing this season. His 10 strikeouts also gave him his 11th career double digit strike out outing - good for fifth in White Sox history.

"That’s what I’m supposed to do, especially after a night like last night," Sale said.

Despite another phenomenal start from Sale, Chicago fell, 3-1, to Boston. He maintains a 3-0 record and 2.30 ERA for the 2014 season.

For more on FGCU, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@FGCUEaglesNest)

FGCU Recruiting Notes - April 17th

(Courtesy of Linwood Ferguson)

This week has been busy for the FGCU recruiting trail so here are some Eagles recruiting notes to stay up to date on who might be coming to Florida Gulf Coast.

Jay Wright
After it was reported that the Capser College guard would be visiting FGCU this weekend (April 18), we have found out that the visit was tentative and eventually fell through. In addition, Florida Gulf Coast is now "off his list."

Nolan Berry
The Butler transfer center will be visiting FGCU, along with Saint Louis, UC-Davis, Loyola (IL), next month. Berry was teammates with current Eagles commit Eric Moeller when the two both attended De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis. He would be a huge get for Florida Gulf Coast.

Marcus Freeman
Today (April 17), Freeman, a 6'8" power forward from Louisburg College, committed to Coastal Carolina over Florida Gulf Coast. The Eagles came late to the party, offering him on April 9.

Jabari McGhee
Contrary to an earlier report, McGhee is not visiting Ole Miss this weekend, according to Rebels beat writer Hugh Kellenberger; he has already visited Western Kentucky (Feb. 21), FGCU (March 15), and Louisiana Lafayette (April 8). His 247 Crystal Ball Predictions are currently 50% Ole Miss and 50% Florida Gulf Coast, after I switched my pick from the Rebels to Dunk City.

For more on FGCU recruiting, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@FGCUEaglesNest)

Possibilities For FGCU's Open Scholarship Spot

(Courtesy of Linwood Ferguson)
With the departures of Eric McKnight and Dajuan Graf, Florida Gulf Coast now holds one open scholarship slot for the 2014-15 season. Although it confused fans a month ago, the Eagles' continuous recruitment with the class of 2014 now makes sense. But now the question is: who will come to Dunk City and fill that final scholarship? We explore the possibilities.

FGCU dipped into the transfer market, as it was reported that the Eagles are after Butler transfer Nolan Berry. The 6'10" freshman center left the Bulldogs after he played in just 18 games. The big man was a consensus three star recruit out of De Smet Jesuit High School, where he played with Florida Gulf Coast commit Eric Moeller (Co. Central Florida). A source informed us that Dooley made a visit to Berry during the week of March 31, but Berry is waiting a bit to start taking visits.

Considering that Florida Gulf Coast returns one player who averaged over 5 rebounds a game last season (Jamail Jones - 5.6), the Eagles are looking for a big man to solidify the front court. While Berry is an option, Jabari McGhee (2014) of Hargrave Military Academy also fits the bill. The 6'7", 210 lb forward took an official visit to Dunk City on March 15 and has narrowed down his list to FGCU, Western Kentucky, Louisiana Lafayette, Ole Miss, and Georgia Tech. In addittion to Florida Gulf Coast, he has already visited Western Kentucky (Feb. 21), and ULL (April 8), and plans on visiting Ole Miss on April 18.

The Blue and Green also have their eyes on JUCO guard Jay Wright (2014) of Casper College (Casper, Wyo). According to Verbal Commits, the 6'1" guard will take an official visit to FGCU on April 18. As a starter for the Thunderbirds, Wright averaged 16.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game last season.

Excluding the aforementioned, Florida Gulf Coast has offered four other recruits in the class of 2014 according to Verbal Commits: guard Jamall Gregory (Calvin Coolidge HS - Washington D.C), small forward Zach Lee (Elev8 Sports Institute - Albuquerque, NM), power forward Quadree Smith (Potomac HS - Fairfax, VA), and power forward Marcus Freeman (Louisburg College - Williamston, NC).

Starting on Monday, April 14, until Thursday, April 17, there is a NCAA dead period when coaches cannot make in person contact with recruits. The live period resumes again on April 18 and extends to April 23rd. Also worth noting is that the regular signing period begins on Wednesday, April 16.

FGCU Baseball Falls To Jacksonville In Pitcher's Duel

(Courtesy of Linwood Ferguson)

Despite seven phenomenal innings from junior pitcher Jack English, Florida Gulf Coast (24-13, 9-3) dropped the final game, 1-0, of their weekend series to Jacksonville.

Through the first seven innings, neither Atlantic Sun squad could seem to solve the opposing pitcher. The Eagles put their first batter on base in the 8th inning when Nick Rivera singled to left field. Unfortunately, the Blue and Green couldn't advance a runner past second in the inning.

On the other side of the coin, the Dolphins faced similar troubles. Junior Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla.) stumped JU batters for 7.1 innings as he struck out three while only giving up six hits. But in the eighth, Jacksonville finally broke through when Angelo Amendolare doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch from freshman Garrett Anderson (Arcadia, Fla.).

The Eagles, with Gage Morey due up, faced a 1-0 deficit heading into the top of the ninth. It looked promising to start the inning, as Morey tripled to right center, but he was immediately caught stealing home. With one out, Alex Diaz singled but no Eagles could advance him further.

Despite dropping this final game of the weekend, Florida Gulf Coast still took home a series win, outscoring the Dolphins 16-6 over the three contests. Sitting at 9-3 in conference play, the Eagles hold 2nd place in the Atlantic Sun; Mercer sits in 1st with a 12-2 A-Sun record.

Before continuing Atlantic Sun play with North Florida next weekend, FGCU plays host to the No. 12 Florida Gators on Tuesday night at Swanson Stadium. Florida Gulf Coast split two games with the Gators earlier this year; they won the first meeting, 2-1, on Feb. 27 before falling 4-0, two days later. The two teams met at Hammond Stadium last season as well. The Gators defeated FGCU, 5-3, behind five innings of work from Bobby Poyner.

In addition, the Eagles have already took the field at Swanson once this season, against Miami. Despite an evenly matched affair through nine innings, the Hurricanes scored three runs in extras to take home a win.

For more on FGCU, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@FGCUEaglesNest)