South Carolina basketball target gets 5-star bump in recruiting rankings

South Carolina basketball class of 2026 recruit Marcus Johnson got bumped up to 5-star range in the player rankings for the '26 cycle.
South Carolina basketball
South Carolina basketball / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

All eyes have been on Lamont Paris' South Carolina basketball team recently. The Gamecocks have been the most improved team in college basketball from last year, and the 17-3 (5-2) squad is on track to make its first NCAA Tournament since the Final Four run after the 2016-2017 season.

However, one of the most impressive parts of Paris' turnaround in Columbia has been in recruiting. The Gamecocks are bringing in two top-150 players in the 2024 recruiting class in sharp shooting Trent Noah and versatile forward Okku Federiko. In 2025, dynamic scoring guard Eli Ellis and big-bodied forward Hayden Assemian are both 4-star prospects committed to the South Carolina basketball program.

2026 seems far away, but Paris and his staff are already making in-roads with some big-time player in the cycle. One of the Gamecocks' targets in the class is guard Marcus Johnson, and the Ohio native recently got bumped up to 5-star territory.

In ESPN's updated class of 2026 rankings, Johnson is a 5-star and the 12th-best prospect in the country. Rivals and 247Sports have Johnson rated in 5-star territory, as well (18th according to Rivals and 24th according to 247Sports), but they have not handed out all of their 5-star designations.

As a player, Johnson is a smaller guard (listed at 6'1" and 175 pounds), but he has plenty of intriguing traits.

He is very quick, both with the ball in his hands and without it, and he uses that quickness as a dynamic scorer off the bounce. On defense, he moves very well and anticipates when to jump passing lanes, helping make up for his lack of size and strength on that end of the court.

As a point guard, he is a score-first player who can drive and finish with either hand. He also can operate off the ball, finding cutting lanes and open space for jump shots. He knocks down those jumpers with regularity, but his form will need some work.

You can watch some of his film here.

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