Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Karron Johnson- Durham for High School and College?

Mt. Zion Christian Academy (NC) is one of the top prep school basketball programs in America. The school currently has a superstar on its hands in 6'7 junior forward Karron Johnson. Mt. Zion, which produced current Houston Rocket Tracy McGrady, is located in Durham, the same town as Duke University. This is interesting for Johnson, as that is the school he grew up rooting for. I learned this from the man himself when we spoke at the Southern Jam Fest after Karron's Richmond Squires (VA) U-17 team was knocked out of the event.

NB: Playing at a school, Mt. Zion [Christian Academy], that Tracy McGrady came out of, what is that like for you?
KJ: It’s okay. . . . It’s kind of hard playing in Tracy McGrady light, but [I] make it work.

NB: Do you ever think about that? Or do you just worry about yourself and your game?
KJ: I try to just worry what I got to do, what I got to take care of [and] get it done.

NB: What led you to playing with the Richmond Squires, going out-of-state [from your high school] for an AAU program?
KJ: Well, actually I’m from Richmond, Virginia. So, . . . I [have] been playing with them since I was like 13 or 14, and we just made the transition to Mt. Zion . . . for private school.

NB: What went into that decision?
KJ: It was kind of my AAU coach Tony Squire to get me out of Richmond because it’s a bad situation in the city of Richmond, so [I ]had to get out of there.

NB: What are some of the colleges you’re currently considering?
KJ: Syracuse, Kansas, USC, Miami, UVA, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Memphis, Maryland, it’s a lot.

NB: Do you have offers from all of those [schools]?
KJ: The majority.

NB: What are some of the schools that are showing interest in you, but have yet to offer?
KJ: Well, during the high school season, Duke was actually at a couple [of] our games, but I’m not really sure where that’s going. That’s about the only big school.

NB: Is that a school that you’d be interested in possibly going to, or because their not showing interest now, it’s kind of fallen off your radar?
KJ: No, I’m wide open right now, anything’s possible right now.

NB: Do you have any schools at the top of your list?
KJ: No sir, no sir. I’m wide open, anything can happen.

NB: Is there a school that growing up you’ve always dreamed of going to, when you were a little kid that you always rooted for them and they were always your favorite school?
KJ: Duke.

NB: What did it mean to you then, to have them come to actually watch your games and know that the school you’ve always rooted for was watching you play?
KJ: That was big for me, I was very excited, and I also had a good game, so I was happy.

NB: What do you consider to be the strongest point of your game?
KJ: Being that I’m big and I can put the ball on the floor. If you’re smaller, I can post up, if you’re bigger, I can dribble.

NB: What [is] . . . your biggest weakness?
KJ: Jump-shooting.

NB: How are you trying to work on that?
KJ: I have been working out with Kent Greenway, who I’ve been working out with since I was 14, and we work on a lot of jump-shots, and shooting off the dribble, and off of screens, and stuff like that.

NB: What current NCAA or NBA player would you compare your game to?
KJ: Oooh, hmmm, maybe a David West.

NB: What makes you pick him?
KJ: Because he . . . has a nice mid-range game, and if you’re too slow, he can go past you.

NB: Who would you consider to be your favorite player?
KJ: Carmelo Anthony.

NB: Why Carmelo?
KJ: Because he’s just . . . an animal. I just love the way he plays. He plays in the post, shoots the jumper, goes past you, . . . however you want it.

NB: What’s your team looking to accomplish over the rest of the AAU season?
KJ: Hopefully get some tournament wins, hopefully, and get some guys into some schools.

NB: What exactly are you looking for in a college that’s going to make it your choice [as a] destination?
KJ: Well, of course, playing time, and also how the school is academically, and what kind of programs they offer. . . . I would like to take up business of something like that, so programs like that.

Duke certainly fits the mold of a quality academic institution, so should Mike Krzyzewski choose to offer Johnson a scholarship, it would be interesting to see if he would jump at the offer, considering that it's his dream school. Being so close to Mt. Zion will allow for Coach K to observe Johnson quite frequently and analyze whether he wants the 6'7 forward to be a Blue Devil. Even if he does, it's by no means a lock that Karron would stay in Durham. It would certainly be an interesting story, though, should Johnson decide to stay in the same town for high school and college.

Note- photo is from http://scouthoops.scout.com/

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