Johnson Bursts Onto The Scene

James Johnson is the flavor of the week coming out of the Nike All-American Camp. Johnson's story begins of all places, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. However, that's not the only interesting factoid about this up and coming small forward.

"At the subscriber's request, this phone does not accept in coming calls."

Such is the life of James Johnson, a 6-foot-8 small forward out of Cheyenne (Wyo.) East High. College coaches wishing to get in touch with him are going to have to get creative because you simply can't dial up his cell phones these days; it's been turned off.

After taking home MVP honors at the Nike All-American Camp senior all-star game, Johnson's life has gotten a bit more complicated. But, it's not like his life was normal before the summer started. Allow us to explain.

"He can run against the wall and do a back somersault," Willie Johnson, James' father said. Most 215 pounders aren't athletic in that manner but Johnson is. In fact, he's athletic in a way that might shock you. He's a kick boxer.

"He's had 10 full contact fights and he's won them all," Johnson's dad told "He doesn't dwell on them though, he just likes to compete."

James Johnson is the son of Willie, the 1996 World Martial Arts champion. Martial arts are a way of life for the family. James uses the sport to train for basketball. It helps him with balance and gives him an athletic edge that became evident at Nike Camp this month.

"We do balancing and moving in the ring to stay mobile. When he was a kid and by the time now he's gotten to be as tall as he is, he's been able to do things most kids can't do."

Most kids would love to have his athleticism, explosion and shooting abilities. Plus, the guy has a body to do for at his position. This is a guy who should finish up ranked somewhere in the Top 100. He's that talented.

Before Nike Camp began, Wyoming, Washington State, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Bradley, Wichita State and Gonzaga knew about him.

And now? "Let's start with Tennessee, Baylor, Virginia, Cincinnati, Wyoming, Wake Forest, Boston College and Kansas," Willie Johnson said. Dad cautioned that there are more and he simply can't recall all the interested parties. "There's so many and my cell phone is so full of messages. I have to keep erasing them just so I can read my messages."

At this point, there's a scurrying amongst college programs to get involved. So far, one has managed to really stand out. "Wake Forest," Willie said. "They had him in their program and school is very important to me. They talk about basketball but they're interested in his skill and his mind."

Skill is one thing Johnson has plenty of. Whether he's running up walls and doing flips, dunking with power and finesse or entering full contact marital arts competitions, this is one unique prospect.

He's the kind of guy you have to be careful around because his hands are a little more lethal than your average small forwards. These expertly trained hands could end your life.

"Pretty fast, in like 5 seconds," Johnson kidded.

Did we say he'd be Top 100? Make that Top 50!

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