Slamming Shaq Still Improving, Coach Says

Auburn basketball signee Shaquille Johnson is having a strong senior season at Milton High School.

Alpharetta, Ga.--David Boyd, head coach of Auburn basketball signee Shaq Johnson, said the senior is continuing to improve as he leads Milton High School into the state playoffs.

On Friday night Johnson sparked his team to a 93-61 victory over Centennial High to win the regular season region title and clinch a berth in the AAAAA state playoffs. Johnson hit 11-13 field goals on the way to scoring 25 points.

"I couldn't be happier with the way he has played," said Boyd, whose team is ranked number one in the state.

Known for his spectacular leaping ability and slam dunks, the six-foot-five small forward has been working on improving his mid-range jump shots and has also hit some three-pointers this season.

Milton's coach noted that Johnson has been serious about developing his all-around game as a senior.

Asked if he is enjoying coaching Johnson, Boyd said, "Are you kidding? Every day. Every single day. I never had anyone like Shaquille Johnson."

Johnson, one of four prospects who signed with Coach Tony Barbee's Tigers in November, wowed fans at a pair of recent high-profile tournaments--the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle, Beach, S.C., and the Burger King Classic in Erie, Pa.

"He's had an entourage of young people following him around like the Pied Piper," Boyd said. "Wherever we go, everybody knows him.

"He did some things at that Burger King Classic that are just beyond description," the coach noted. "He did things at the Beach Ball Classic that are beyond description. He is just a phenomenal, dynamic, exciting player who I think is going to make a huge impact at Auburn."

Averaging 16 points per game, the senior has done it with efficiency. "He is shooting close to 70 percent from the field," said Boyd, who added that Johnson is also averaging six rebounds per game.

Shaq Johnson is known for his spectacular dunks. He had seven in one game at the Burger King Classic.

The coach pointed out that he often has the senior defend the other team's top offensive player. "He is playing very, very well defensively," Boyd said. "He is long, athletic and can guard multiple positions."

Johnson won Under Armour's national slam dunk championship last summer in California. He may get a chance to wrap up his high school basketball playing days on a big stage. "He was nominated for the McDonald's All-American game and it was a nice honor because they only nominate a small number from each state and we were fortunate to have three," Boyd said.

Milton's coach predicts that college hoops fans will enjoy watching Johnson play. "I think I can say this--I think just about everyone in Auburn is looking forward to having him on campus," Boyd said.

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