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Lobo hoops lands third commitment of 2020 recruiting class

Javonte Johnson of Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs says he will play basketball for the UNM Lobos. (Photo courtesy Javonte Johnson)

Lobo fans haven’t yet got to know all the new faces on the 2019-20 roster.

Now they have another future Lobo to get acquainted with.

Javonte Johnson, a 6-foot-6 senior forward from Colorado Springs Cheyenne Mountain High School, announced on Thursday he is committed to play for the UNM men’s basketball team, becoming the third prep player to give a commitment as part of the 2020 recruiting class.

“It felt like home as soon as I stepped on campus,” Johnson told the Journal, referring both to his official recruiting visit in June and an unofficial recruiting visit he had on campus this past weekend when he attended the Cherry and Silver game in Dreamstyle Arena — the Pit.

“I felt like the way UNM plays fits my play style exactly. Loved the coaching staff as well as the players on the team and it is a good school for business and that’s what I want to major in.”

Johnson, a small forward, joins 6-9 power forward Bayron Matos, a senior at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Nolan Dorsey, a 6-6 point guard from Raleigh (N.C.) Middlebrook High School, as the three commitments for the Lobos’ 2020 recruiting class.

Commitments are non-binding and coaches at UNM can’t comment on specific recruits until they sign a National Letter of Intent.

The “initial” signing period this year is from Nov. 13-20 with another signing period in the spring.

All three players committed to UNM plan to sign in November’s early period.

For Johnson, he said he knows the Lobos run and are expected to defend full court.

“The fans should expect to see a hard worker,” he said. “A player that cares about winning over anything and is a good teammate on and off the court, and a player that is versatile on offense and defense.”

He says he has had a personal mantra — “On Top Next” — since his freshman season at Cheyenne Mountain High School and even incorporates it in his social media account handles on Twitter and Instagram (@otn_jay on both), where he first made Thursday’s announcement.

“OTN was a phrase I made when I was a bit younger,” Johnson said. “It stands for On Top Next. It just reminds me that there is always someone better than me and I have to keep working to get there.”

Johnson rates as a three-star recruit on most recruiting services and, while now sitting as the No. 176 ranked recruit by 247Sports.com, the small forward shot up as high as 101 after a strong showing in the spring, playing club ball.

It would appear for now that the Lobos will have at least three scholarships open for the 2020-21 season with the departures of three seniors – two big men in forwards Carlton Bragg and Corey Manigault and guard JaQuan Lyle. Lyle could apply for a medical hardship waiver at the end of the season, but has not yet done so or indicated he plans to do so and is classified as a senior.

Vance Jackson, though only a junior, is also a possibility for a departure from the program as he already tested the professional waters this past offseason before deciding to return and he will also be in line to graduate, giving him options to either turn pro or pursue a graduate transfer season elsewhere.

MWC/A10 CHALLENGE: Gone is the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Conference Challenge. But the MWC isn’t out of the conference challenge game.

The league made official on Thursday previously reported news that starting in the 2020-21 season, 10 of the league’s 11 members will take part in a series of games with 10 members of the Atlantic-10 Conference. Each league will host five games.

The Lobos will host St. Bonaventure on Dec. 2, 2020, in the Pit. UNM will then owe a road game to an A-10 opponent in 2021.

Matchups were determined by the leagues, using several factors, including last season’s computer rankings, to try and pair up quality opponents for nonconference games in an effort to boost the computer rankings overall of each league.

The Lobos have played the Bonnies, where UNM assistant coach Jerome Robinson worked prior to coming to Albuquerque, once. UNM beat St. Bonaventure in the Pit, 81-54, on Nov. 7, 2007.

Other matchups include: Utah State at Davidson, UNLV at VCU, San Diego State at Saint Louis, Boise State at Rhode Island, Air Force at Saint Joseph’s, George Mason at Fresno State, Richmond at Colorado State, Duquesne at Wyoming and Dayton at Nevada.

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