May 16, 2006

Teammates getting close?

BLOOMINGTON - AAU teammates JaJuan Johnson and Matt Howard are both highly recruited prospects, each ranked as top-100 players nationally.

But their paths to such standing were very different.

The 6-foot-10 Johnson's high ceiling for both physical and skill development was recognized by many schools last summer, thus drawing scouts' eyes, a couple of early high-major scholarship offers and some lofty individual rankings.

Meanwhile, Howard - merely a prospect of interest to mainly in-state schools through his junior season - has burst onto the national scene with a tremendous spring that has netted him a top-100 ranking from RivalsHoops.com and a handful of scholarship offers.

Both players have been offered by Purdue, Johnson getting his official invite a year ago, with Howard getting the call just a couple of weeks ago. Both are now top Boilermaker recruiting targets in a 2007 Indiana class that's loaded with talent.

Johnson holds offers from Purdue, Xavier and most recently Marquette and Cincinnati.

As for Howard, he's been offered by Purdue and West Virginia among high-major schools, while also boasting invites from Miami (Ohio), Butler, Ball State and Valparaiso, among others.

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