Five Star Recruit A.J. Johnson decommits from Texas to join the NBL

ESPN reported that A.J. Johnson has decommitted from Texas and signed a deal with the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia. 

The 6-foot-5 combo guard out of Southern California Academy in Castaic, Calif., is a projected lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. He told ESPN he has decided to go the route of LaMelo Ball – among others, joining the NBL’s Next Stars program.

Johnson said to 24/7 Sports “The college environment is a bit more controlled and about X’s and O’s and not as much about playing off of feel and freedom,” said Johnson. “I feel like I thrive in more of an up and down system, getting up more shots and playing off feel but you are also still playing off of actions and stuff like that. I also want to get started on my professional career and taking it more serious so that I can really lock in on the game and try to be the best player I can be.”

Johnson committed to Texas in November, choosing the Longhorns over Kansas, LSU and North Carolina State among others. The 6-foot-5 Johnson was the No. 18 overall recruit in the Class of 2023, per the 247Sports composite rankings. Johnson is represented by Bill Duffy of WME Basketball.

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