Syracuse Basketball: Mike Hopkins misses out on five-star Dior Johnson

The recruiting process of former Syracuse basketball commit Dior Johnson has proven anything but typical, and the five-star point guard surprised the recruiting world when he committed to Oregon on Tuesday, according to numerous media reports.

The 6-foot-3 Johnson, one of the best overall players in the 2022 class who almost certainly will make it to the professional ranks, was planning to announce his ultimate destination on June 25, according to a tweet from Tipton Edits that we shared in a recent column.

Johnson reportedly had five finalists under consideration. They were Mike Hopkins-led Washington, Alabama, Kentucky, Oregon and the National Basketball League (NBL), a professional basketball league based in Melbourne, Australia.

Alex Karamanos, a national analyst, had recently tweeted that Johnson was slated to take an official visit to Washington on June 22-24. Given Johnson’s commitment to the Ducks, I can’t imagine that he went through with a trip to Hopkins and the Huskies.

This is a bummer for Washington. I really was rooting for Hopkins to land Johnson, who is a native of Saugerties, N.Y., and played his junior season at Corona Centennial High School in Corona, Calif.

Over the past few years, Johnson has suited up for numerous high-school teams, and several articles said that he may play his senior year of basketball for a squad other than Corona Centennial High School.

Former Syracuse basketball commit Dior Johnson is heading to Oregon.

The Ducks are often one of the premier teams in the Pac-12 Conference, and they reached the 2017 Final Four. Oregon does well on the recruiting trail, and head coach Dana Altman has even picked up a couple of ‘Cuse prospects in recent terms.

To that end, former Syracuse basketball sophomore forward Quincy Guerrier has transferred to Oregon while continuing to test the NBA Draft waters.

After Johnson announced his verbal commitment to the Ducks, a boatload of Orange fans on social media and in chat rooms prognosticated that Johnson won’t ever compete for Oregon, because he will end up going straight from high school to the pro circuit.

Tipton Edits said in a recent tweet that “Johnson’s estimated NBL offer is expected to be $1.2 million, per source.” That’s a hefty paycheck.

Whether it’s the NBL, the NBA’s G League or the newly formed Overtime Elite, I have to imagine that these professional options could remain in the mix for Johnson even following his pledge to the Ducks.

Johnson is considered by some recruiting services to be the No. 1 point guard in his class, as well as a top-five prospect overall in the 2022 cycle.

He initially committed to Syracuse basketball in February of 2020, but then Johnson re-opened his recruiting process back up last November.