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DeKalb's Maddy Johnson has college programs' attention

The recruiting letters started filling DeKalb basketball player Maddy Johnson’s mailbox during her freshman year.

Then, the scholarship offers started coming in, first from Southern Illinois, then Toledo, and an offer from Illinois State is expected in the coming weeks.

After this summer, sifting through the offers may become more difficult for the DeKalb sophomore.

“I think my biggest expectation is the ability to take these mid-major looks and turn them into some BCS offers,” said Bolingbrook Panther coach Chris Smith, Johnson’s AAU coach. “Maddy has the potential.”

Johnson’s recruiting profile has picked up steam during the past year. The 6-foot-2 forward, who can play on the block and on the perimeter, was ranked among the top 15 Illinois recruits in her class by Midwest Recruiting Report. Toledo, which has won the MAC West Division for five straight years, offered her last summer.

Ohio State, North Carolina and Florida are among the 130 or so schools who have checked out her profile on the NCSA recruiting service web site. Marquette and Wisconsin have also shown interest.

Now, Smith tells Johnson she needs to play with consistency on the AAU circuit in order to get more looks.

“It is a big summer,” Johnson said. “I just need to be a stronger player and be more individual on the court, because sometimes I don’t take chances I need to take, especially in front of coaches so they can see my talent.”

During her junior year, coaches will finally be able to contact Johnson directly, instead of going through Smith or DeKalb coach Chris Davenport. At that point, Smith doesn’t think she’ll be hurting for offers. College coaches like her ability to play in the post and to step out to the perimeter as a power forward, and Davenport and Smith rave about her work ethic.

“They like her size, her strength, her ability to play in the post and her ability to hit the three-point shot as well,” Smith said. “With the evolution of the game, coaches are looking for combination post players who are looking to play with their backs to the basket as well as the ablity to extend the defense with the three-point shot.”

Johnson hopes to know what school she’ll attend before her senior year, but she doesn’t have much of an idea what school she’ll pick, aside from the fact that she wants to stay relatively close to home.

If all goes to plan, she’ll have plenty of schools to choose from.

“I’m not trying to say I want to go to this type of school with this many people and this type of basketball team,” Johnson said. “One day, I want to go away, one day I want to be home. I don’t know how big of a school I want to go to … I’m keeping my options open.”

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