Stanley Johnson was one of the most impressive players at the McDonalds All American Practices last week in Chicago and our Wes Hinton was able to catch up with the Arizona signee.
NBADraft.net: What was it about Coach Miller that attracted you to the Arizona program?
Stanley Johnson: I think Coach Miller understands my game the most, he saw a lot in me that I didn’t even see in myself. He was the first person that told my HS coach that I could run the point position and that happened this year. He thinks the most of me and look at the players that have done it before me. They do well in that program at my position and I feel like I can come in and do what they did.
NBADraft.net: Having watched you play over the years one thing that always stands out is your motor, you seem to play hard all the time. Where does that come from considering so many players lack that nowadays?
Stanley Johnson: You gotta compete, I’m not the most athletic person, I’m not the best shooter and I’m not the best off the dribble. So I have to separate myself somehow, some way. I think competing and having a high motor is almost mandatory if your gonna play at this level. I think if you’re going to come out on the court you must give high effort, if not than why are you playing? We’re at the McDonalds All American game so play your hardest, we are the only one’s lucky enough to be here. People say my motor is special but that’s just the way I play.
NBADraft.net: Speak a little bit about what it’s like playing at a program like Mater Dei and what advantages does that experience give you going into college.
Stanley Johnson: I think the best thing about playing at Mater Dei is the coaching staff, it’s a top tier program. I tell people all the time if I was to miss a practice, be late to a practice, miss a bus or plane than coach would bench me. There’s probably 20 players here who’s coach wouldn’t do that, I’m not scared of Coach McKnight but I wouldn’t cross that line. Even though I’m the player that I am I always practice, always tape my ankles like he tells me too. That’s the way it’s supposed to be so if I go to the NBA or in college, the transition should be easy for me. They teach things the right way on both offense and defense, even coach Jones at Team USA told me you’re really good at defense rotations and that’s because we did it every day at practice so it’s second nature for me now.
NBADraft.net: Before you become a Wildcat what are some things you need to improve on to reach your goals next season?
Stanley Johnson: I need to be a better outside shooter, obviously I feel like I shot pretty well from three this season but it will be a step back in college. I also need to do a better job of making decisions with the ball in my hands especially on ball screens and down screens. I see the game differently as in if I get a down screen I see the hedge. The person who sets the down screen hedges sometimes and I need to know what to do at the point. Do I pass it to the top? Take the shot? Or wait until the double team comes. I’m trying to use ball screens as much as I can and I just need to get more skilled, the more skills I get the better off I will be.