5-star guard AJ Johnson decommits from Texas and turns pro in Australia

The Texas Longhorns men’s basketball team suffered a significant loss on Wednesday when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Southern California Academy (Calif.) five-star combo guard AJ Johnson has decommitted from Texas and will instead turn pro.

According to the ESPN reportJohnson signed a deal with the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian NBL.

After the news became public, Johnson told 247Sports that the more improvised and loose professional playing suits his style better:

“The college environment is a little more controlled and X’s and O’s, not so much a feel-and-go game…I feel like I thrive in more of an up-and-down system, getting more hits and playing by feel, but you’re still playing of actions and things like that. I also want to start my pro career and take it more seriously so I can really get into the game and try to be the best player I can be.

According to the consensus rankings, Johnson (6-foot-5, 160 pounds) is the No. 5 combo guard, third overall in the state of California and number 18 nationally in the 2023 set.

Johnson will look to take a similar path to the NBA as LaMelo Ball, who played one season in the Australian League before going No. 3 overall to the Charlotte Hornets in 2020.

So far, ESPN’s mock draft has Johnson going No. 14.

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