JOHNSON ERUPTS FOR A HALF OR SO, EYES BIGGER TARGET
As soon as he took the floor, future Kansas Jayhawk Elijah Johnson looked like he was getting ready for a big night. He was bouncy and loose in warmups and came out looking to attack as soon as the ball was tipped during the fourth game of a senior season that Johnson hopes ends in a state title.
Even though teammate Demetric Williams lob to him immediately after the tip didn’t connect, Johnson thrilled the crowd shortly after. Ending up with the ball in the open floor no more than 15 or 20 seconds into a still 0-0 game, Johnson got the ball on the left side, bounced the ball off the floor up to the rim and then caught it with two hands and finishing with a little bit of a pump for the jam.
Next trip, Johnson strikes again with a deep three from just right of the top of the key. Another possession later, he hit again for three from the left wing. Then, after another dunk just a moment later he was whistled for a technical foul for hanging on the rim. That gave Johnson 10 points and two personal fouls just three minutes into the game.
Later, in the second quarter Johnson picked up his third. Then in the third he picked up his fourth quickly and sat until there was just 6:20 remaining in the fourth quarter. The foul bug struck again and Johnson was done -- with 12 points and four rebounds -- with 5:24 to go in the game.
Asked afterwards if it could get better with him at the start of a game, Johnson grinned and was already looking ahead to a big matchup with Canyon Springs on Friday night after Cheyenne’s 59-48 win.
“Yeah it does get better, Friday night it does,” said Johnson. “I felt good about coming back tonight. We’d had some big games lately and our team has stepped up so it feels good to come back and help with a big win.”
However, Johnson admitted that after not playing all that much during his first three games, it did hurt a bit to sit out more than half of Thursday night’s game with foul trouble.
“It was real tough,” Johnson told Phog.Net with a shrug and a smile. “I’ve been sitting a lot lately. I haven’t been playing the whole game. I threw up the first game, second game I had got hurt, didn’t play the third game and now in the fourth I sat on the bench for half the game.”
But, after reaching the state finals as a junior, Johnson is focused on bringing home a championship during his senior year. If anything, sitting some has helped him to trust his teammates and understand that fellow Demetric Williams -- an athletic 6-2 combo guard and definite D1 talent -- and Chris McCall -- a 6-2 junior WG with a pure stroke – are just as capable of taking over a game as he is.
Looking to the season ahead, Johnson just thinks he and his teammates need to keep it simple. If they stick to the gameplan and stay consistent, he thinks a title is in reach.
“I expect us to do what we do every single day. If we change, then I’m worried. If I come out and I say the same faces I see in warmups and the same faces in the tunnel, then I know we’ll be cool.”
OTHER NOTES FROM VEGAS
Mentioned above, Demetric Williams of North Las Vegas (NV) Cheyenne is worth a look on the division one level. At 6-2, Williams is an electric athlete who can create off the dribble and has deep range on his jumper. He needs some strength and is rough around the edges. But, he can create for himself and others and looks to have some significant upside if he can learn to play with a little more control. … Cheyenne junior Chris McCall has a beautiful stroke. The 6-2 WG can catch it and let it fly in a hurry whether he’s curling off a pick or spotted up. He is good from beyond the three point line, but what he really loves to do is pull the trigger from between 12 and 18 feet. With quickness and some handles as well, he’s also tracking as a potential Division One recruit on one level or another. … A third -- well fourth actually counting Johnson -- Desert Shields guard to note is junior J’Quon Wroten. The uber skinny lefty is quick, and is an explosive finisher who can hang at or above the rim. … Finally, Silverado senior Wade Collie is a nice player as well. The 6-5 WF led his team with 24 points and scored on an array of mid-range jumpers, transition finishes and offensive stickbacks. He’s not the most athletic kid, but he’s skilled and knows how to play the game. He presses a bit at times, but he’s got a chance to play on the lower end of Division One or be a very good Division Two recruit. …
- Total teams watched- 47.
- Total games watched- 31.
- Total miles traveled- 5183.