"Everybody has been playing well together and we have been gelling real good," Johnson tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "Hopefully, we will have a good end to the season."
"We have the region tournament on Friday and Saturday," he adds. "If we win the tournament we can host the first two games in the state playoff."
Johnson says he believes the Eagles have the right stuff to make a run at the state title. "The keys for us are to crash the boards hard and play defense," he says.
Johnson was one of four players who signed in November to join Coach Tony Barbee's Auburn team next season. The others include high school seniors Jordan Price from Southwest DeKalb High in Decatur, Ga., and Jordon Granger from McCluer North High in Florissant, Mo., and juco center Asauhn Dixon-Tatum from Chattahoochee Tech in Marietta, Ga.
Playing on a team featuring University of Georgia signee Charles Mann, a 6-5 point guard, and 6-7 forward Evan Nolte, a University of Virginia signee, Johnson is averaging 16 points and six rebounds per game. With other talented players on the roster it is no surprise that Milton is ranked No. 1 in the state going into the playoffs.
"I feel like I am playing pretty well, but I can do better," Johnson says. "I can crash the boards harder for my team and rebound more. I am also working on my outside game and my handle."
Shaquille Johnson looks to pass the basketball in a rivalry game vs. Roswell High.
Against top competition Johnson has been able to shine. His performances at the Burger King Classic, a tournament in Erie, Pa., last month, earned rave reviews. Fans lined up for his autograph after he made seven impressive slam dunks in the semi-finals and five more in the championship game.
Johnson says that tournament was probably the highlight so far during his senior season as Milton dominated the competition. "It was fun playing in Erie," he says. "We had a lot of fans there and everybody was ready to see me get up and I did."
Johnson says he is currently six-foot-five, 210 pounds and will likely be bigger as a college player. "I am still just 17 and I am still growing,"?he says.
Johnson and Milton High closed the regular season with rivalry game victories over Alpharetta High and Roswell High last week. As his high school playing days are coming to a close, it won't be long before he turns his attention to playing in the SEC.
He notes that he stays in touch with Auburn assistant coach Milt Wagner, who recruited the forward to play for the Tigers. "I talk to Coach Wagner a lot," the high school senior says. "He said, ‘We are ready to get you here and we need you.' Everything is going fine. I just have to pass my last few classes and I will be ready for college."
Johnson (2) won the Under Armour dunk contest last summer in California.
Milton High head coach David Boyd says that he has been enjoying his chance to coach Johnson, who is known for his ability to make spectacular plays above the rim.
"I have never coached anyone like him," Boyd says. "Shaq Johnson is as good a person as he is a player. He is going to be a great asset for Auburn. Trust me, Auburn got themselves a good one."
The following video from Milton High's victory over Roswell High on Friday night:
Shaq Johnson Interview:
Shaq Johnson Highlights: