5-star talent puts South Carolina basketball on list of favorites

South Carolina basketball made the top list for 5-star wing Zakiyah Johnson.
South Carolina basketball target Zakiyah Johnson
South Carolina basketball target Zakiyah Johnson / Scott Utterback/Courier Journal / USA

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley is involved with nearly every player in the top-10 of the class of 2025 recruiting rankings. One of those 5-star talents is Zakiyah Johnson, a 6'1" wing from Shelbyville, Kentucky.

Earlier in her recruitment, Zakiyah Johnson had put Coach Staley's Gamecocks in her top-12, but this week, the 5-star wing player trimmed her list to 6, and South Carolina basketball made the cut again.

The South Carolina Gamecocks are one of six finalists for Johnson, along with the LSU Tigers, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisville Cardinals, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and Southern Cal Trojans. Her hometown of Shelbyville is just about an hour away from both Louisville and Lexington.

As a player, Johnson is a fearless scorer on the wing who has enough ballhandling ability and athleticism to play the 2-guard but enough size and length to play small forward or even power forward in small-ball lineups. She is aggressive on the floor, as well, allowing her to make the most of her quickness advantage when playing a forward spot and dominate using her size when matched up with smaller guards on the wing.

Johnson is a comfortable shooter from almost anywhere on the court. She is not afraid to pull up from behind the arc (sometimes way behind the arc), she can make tough shots in traffic, and she is a strong finisher when driving to the basket.

Long arms are a weapon for Johnson on defense. She has a knack for getting her hands in passing lanes and has better shot-blocking instincts than most other wings. She is also a strong and physical player who has the defensive chops to deter opposing players of all different sizes as they try to make their way to the basket.

You can watch some of her film here.

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