Basketball always a part of Johnson's life

Basketball has always been a part of Stanley Johnson's life. Read on to see how his mother describes how it all started, her son's progression, and more.

While most of the parents attending the Mater Dei (Calif.) vs. Yates (Tex.) high school basketball game Saturday at Grand Canyon University were intently watching their kid's performance, one mother was calmly watching as if she knew exactly how her child was going to play and what the outcome was going to be.

However, unlike the other parents in the stands, Karen Taylor's basketball odyssey is just beginning and now that her son is one of the most complete, team-first superstars in the high school ranks, she can afford to relax.

From the moment Taylor gave birth to Stanley Johnson, basketball was on their minds. Starring at Jackson State before playing professionally, overseas gave Taylor an idea that basketball might be in her son's DNA.

"I got him into the game super young, but he just took to it," Taylor said. "I never had to push his interest in it. Like for me, it was in his blood and came natural."

The details that most parents overlook were the aspects that Taylor concentrated on.

"The best way he was going to become a better player was learning the fundamentals of dribbling, shooting, passing and defense along with the ability to play any position one through five on the court."

These values made Johnson one of the more acclaimed players to enter Mater Dei and the years of basketball practice helped Johnson quickly adjust to big-time high school basketball.

Where Johnson starred for the renowned Gary McKnight during the high school season, he moved on from Belmont Shore, where his mother helped coach, to another AAU squad.

"It was a little difficult letting him go," Taylor said. "I was so used to being there coaching him through his mistakes during the game, but at the same time letting him play for another team helped him."

That AAU team was the Oakland Soldiers. Arguably the top program in the country, the Soldiers provided Johnson a team filled with players who could push him in practice as well as games.

Although her son only played one season for the Soldiers, Taylor was well-aware which college head coach was most popular with the AAU squad. It just so happened that this coach had been ingratiating himself with Taylor and Johnson for the past three years.

As is usually the case with any Sean Miller priority recruit, the coach and the program were viewed in a favorable light by the prospect and his family.

"Everyone knows that Arizona has been one of the best schools in the country for quite a long time," Taylor said. "And when you look at the team now, the program has never been better.

"But there is one main reason my son is going to Arizona and that is Sean Miller. He and his staff have been absolutely amazing. They're all great coaches and more importantly, great people. Even though I don't know if I always saw my son leaving the state, Coach Miller had that one planned out."


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