Sleeper Alert in Illinois: Introducing Malachi Johnson of Guilford (Rockford)!!!!!!!
Rockford and it's surrounding area does not get a lot of love in Illinois high school basketball circles. Their last great player in the state was Fred Van Vleet who came from Auburn (Rockford) Class of 2012 who was first team Class 4A All State and is now in the NBA. Here's a list of Rockford Area's greatest basketball players in this article :https://www.rrstar.com/story/sports/nba/2020/09/15/rockfordrsquos-greatest-basketball-players-no-1-fred-vanvleet-rockfordrsquos-greatest-keeps-getting-/114404642/. Malachi Johnson has a chance to join this list. He's one of the top sleeper prospects in the state of Illinois. He will be a four year varsity player at his high school. Averaged 13.9 points as a sophomore, over 20 points per game as a junior, led team to the NIC 10 conference title. Here we go:
MALACHI JOHNSON, Guilford (Rockford), Class of 2024 6'2" point guard/ combo guard.
He has had a great spring with Greater Purpose, was consistently putting up numbers on the Prep Hoops Circuit. He scored from all levels of the court, ran the point making good decisions, passing the ball up the court for hockey assists as well as direct assists. Here's the total breakdown of his game.
OFFENSE: Very versatile player. Runs point but shoots well enough to play off the ball. Good ball handler, rarely gets the ball stolen from him. Gets to his spots on the court going either left or right to score. Makes good decisions on the court with pin point passes to his teammates. Hits cutters to the basket for scores, and makes passes to three point shooters in their shooting pocket. Good at feeding the post. He can score on all three levels, knows how to get his shot off the dribble for pull-ups from three point range, mid range, and finishes at the basket with either hand. Gets high on his jump shot with a high release point, nice fall away jump shot to get it over outstretched hand of his defender. Scores off the bounce or catch and shoot. Can go on scoring sprees when needed, and is a willing passer getting his teammates involved. Sometimes he misses layups he should not by indecisiveness whether to dunk or lay the ball up.
DEFENSE: Can guard both backcourt positions. Moves his feet on defense, gets steals on the ball with quick hands, and off the ball getting into passing lanes. Gets into the opposing point guards grill, and makes it tough for him to bring ball up the court. Hits the defensive glass very well. Talks on defense to his teammates to get them in good position whether in zone or man to man. Reads where the offense is going and cuts off the offensive player from penetration. Sometimes gets lost playing defense off the ball. Has the speed and lateral quickness to be an elite defender on the next level.
CONCLUSION: One of the top 5 guards in the state, possibly the best two way guard. Very underrated in rankings and unknown by most in the state. He's a do it all guard at 6'2, but can do multiple things on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Can't pigeon toe him as a scorer, or as a playmaker, he can do both seamlessly. He's a true point, but can play off the ball. Starting to get some traction as a mid major division one talent. Made a recent visit to Bowling Green. Should get more interest and likely some offers after the upcoming live periods the next two weekends. Combo guard for Malachi means he can play both, he is not stuck at either position. Look for a big time senior season from him, and hopefully his team can play some regular season games outside the Rockford Area, and get into some events in the Chicagoland Area.
Here's some highlights of Malachi Johnson: