INDIANAPOLIS – Rest? Who has time for rest? Certainly not Jacob Johnson. He's an IPFW recruit and a member of the Eric Gordon All-Stars when he's not thriving at Mooresville High School.
The 6-7 forward, like so many travel ball players, spends his July on the road. He was in Indianapolis last week, then again on Thursday for the Top-100 Showcase. Now he's in Cincinnati for a tourney. On Tuesday he'll fly to Las Vegas for another event.
“It's cool,” he said. “(Wednesday) was my only day off in three weeks. We're going to be going for a while, but I love it. I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's really fun.”
Fun comes with plenty of sweat, travel with uncertain recruiting outcome. Eric Gordon All-Stars teammate Sean Sellers knows the feeling. This Greensburg (Ind) standout -- and fellow IPFW recruit -- embraces the hectic pace with a smile. He understands the benefits:
A future college opportunity, and more.
“It gives me a chance to see how I compare to the competition,” Sellers said. “There are a lot of good players (at the Top-100 Showcase) and the AAU events. It's definitely showed me things I need to work on. That's part of it.”
So is winning, which the Eric Gordon All-Stars have done with regularity.
“It's definitely a good time,” Sellers said. “We're a close team. We compete well together. We play well together. Hopefully we can win the Las Vegas tournament together.”
Sellers and Johnson are 6-7 forwards. Neither is ranked by the national recruiting services, but both have strong games that have merited college coaches' attention.
Yes, that includes IPFW coach Tony Jasick.
'“I talked to Coach Jasick (Wednesday night),” Johnson said. “He said he'd watch me in the (Top-100 Showcase), and would be in Las Vegas. Hopefully we'll take soon, and then we'll see from there.”
Added Sellers: “IPFW is a good program. I'll talk to my parents after July is over, take a couple of official visits and go from there.”
Sellers is also getting heavy interest from IUPUI, Northern Kentucky, SIU-Edwardsville, Air Force, William & Mary, and Bellmont.
Sellers' strengths are shooting and a knack for playing on winning teams. He joined with Bryant McIntosh to help lead Greensburg to an Indiana state title last spring. He can handle the ball and plays solid defense. He's improved his physical play in the paint, although that must continue to get better.
“I've got to improve my ball handling, get stronger and shoot more consistently,” he said.
A good connection with the coaches is among Seller's college-choice priorities.
“The main thing is my relationship with the coaching staff. That will be a major element. Definitely the playing style and how I fit in the program.”
Johnson is strong and athletic with impressive jumping ability. He can attack the rim and hit the open three-pointer. During the recruiting process Xavier, Purdue, Nebraska and Butler looked at him.
Johnson has three scholarship offers -- Northern Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky and Northern Colorado. He said Ball State recently contacted him. He's received interest from Air Force and Lipscomb.
“There have been a lot of in-state schools,” he said. “It's picked up this spring and summer.”
What is Johnson looking for in a college?
“I tell coaches I want a place where I feel I can be the most successful, not just in basketball, but in life. I want to be able to get a job. You can only play basketball for so long. It's where I feel most comfortable and will be the most successful.”
Johnson is determined to find success and it starts with maximum effort.
“It's a lot of fun. Everybody out here can score. That's why they're here. They're the leader of their teams. Coaches are looking for leadership and hustle plays and a lot of stuff people don't want to do. I think it's a big deal to be in this. A lot of these players are really good. There's a lot of competition, a lot of talent. “