Bishop O’Connell’s Xavier Johnson decommitted from Nebraska and asked to be released from his National Letter of Intent over the weekend.
The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference’s player of the year had been set to join the Cornhuskers in the fall as an immediate impact player, but with the move of Nebraska assistant coach Kenya Hunter, Johnson’s lead recruiter, to UConn to take a similar position, Johnson’s outlook changed.
“[Hunter] told me himself, and then I talked it over with my parents,” Johnson said Monday night. “I’m not saying I’m drawn off from Nebraska; I’m just reevaluating my options.”
Nebraska told Johnson he would get his release, the player said, but as of Tuesday morning, the three-star guard had not officially been granted it. While other schools have expressed interest, Johnson told his father that, even if schools have been reaching out, he doesn’t want to talk about or talk to any of the programs until he gets his release.
“My mother was crying when I decommitted because she liked the school, too,” Johnson said. “My dad, he is trying to act like he knows what he’s doing, so I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ll follow him.’ It is kind of stressful, because all the fans from Nebraska, they are sort of disappointed. That’s why I didn’t want to tweet about it; I didn’t want the hatred or the sadness from the comments.”
After he receives his release from Nebraska, Johnson wants to set up official visits within the next month or so, but he has yet to make a formal list of colleges. Johnson has three official visits left after using two before committing to Nebraska. The first of two live evaluation periods, which offer coaches the chance to see players compete live, starts this weekend, which makes scheduling visits complicated and gives Johnson more time to mull over a decision. Ideally, he wants to make his choice before graduating in June.
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound guard said he wants to try to see who replaces Hunter on Nebraska’s staff before he makes a final decision regarding the Cornhuskers. Nebraska assistants Jim Molinari and Michael Lewis visited him last week.
Johnson committed to Nebraska in September, picking the Cornhuskers over Georgia Tech and Georgetown, then signed during the early period in November. He was a highly touted recruit for Coach Tim Miles and his Cornhuskers, who were one of the first teams to start recruiting him.
As far as Johnson potentially going to UConn to follow Hunter, the Huskies got two new commitments, Duquesne graduate transfer Tarin Smith and 2018 guard Brendan Adams, on Sunday, leaving the Huskies with one open scholarship for next season. Adams originally committed to new UConn Coach Dan Hurley while he was still at Rhode Island.
“We haven’t talked about him recruiting me; we don’t have that time right now,” Johnson said of Hunter.
Johnson is a versatile point guard with “pro-level” speed, as O’Connell Coach Joe Wootten described it in March, and he led O’Connell to third place in the WCAC during the regular season. He averaged 18.4 points as one of the team’s two senior leaders. Johnson played for the D.C-based Team Takeover AAU squad over the summer.
“The [ideal] program, it’s the same as it was before,” he said. “A good coach, a winning program, a program that is going to help develop my weaknesses and a great academic school to help me get my degree.”
More recruiting news:
» Wise senior guard Sherwyn Devonish committed to Morgan State over the weekend. The 6-1, 190-pound guard averaged 18.4 points during his senior season, leading Wise to a 20-5 record and the Class 4A South Section II semifinals before falling to Eleanor Roosevelt. Devonish was named to The Post’s All-Met second team.
» Paul VI junior guard Anthony Harris had in-home visits with Louisville and Florida State on Sunday. The four-star guard picked up scholarship offers from Cincinnati, Georgia Tech and Florida State on April 6 and 7. The 6-3, 180-pound guard has 11 offers. Harris will play with Team Takeover in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League on the upcoming AAU circuit. The first of two live evaluation periods starts this weekend in Irving, Tex.
» DeMatha junior guard Jahmir Young picked up offers from Old Dominion and Bucknell on Monday. The 6-foot, 160-pounder is a three-star guard who will play with Team Takeover on the AAU circuit.
» Twin junior forwards Makhi and Makhel Mitchell are enrolled at Wilson after playing at Florida’s Montverde Academy this past year, according to The Post’s Jesse Dougherty. The 6-9 forwards are committed to Maryland and will play AAU ball with D.C. Premier this spring and summer.