Big 12 News

2023 Five-Star AJ Johnson To Forego Texas Commitment, Join Australia’s NBL

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional- Miami (FL) vs Texas

According to a report from 247Sports, five-star guard AJ Johnson will forego his commitment to play for Texas and instead head to Australia to play for the Illawarra Hawks in the NBL.

Ranked as the No. 15 player in the class of 2023, Johnson was due to be a significant part of Rodney Terry’s game plan next season but will force the new Texas coach to look elsewhere for help.

The 6-5 combo guard out of Castiac, California will be the first American player to join the NBL Next Star program since LaMelo Ball did it back in 2019.


“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 says that the decision to travel across the world wasn’t easy, and his strong relationship with Rodney Terry makes this bittersweet moment for him.

“I love coach Terry, that’s my guy,” said Johnson. “If I was going to college I would definitely want to be coached by him and would go to Texas for sure. I just felt like this pro route was the best decision for me.

“This was a pretty tough decision. It is just so far and I really like Coach Terry, he’s my guy and all those people at Texas I really love them.”

With the loss of Johnson, Texas is left with one commitment for the 2023 cycle, but its a good one. five-star forward Ron Holland ranks as the No. 6 overall player in the nation, and the No. 1 PF in the 2023 class.

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