Amir Johnson taking care of business

Exceptionally talented and athletic, 6-foot-9 University of Louisville commit Amir Johnson is taking care of business on and off the court this summer.

Though he arrived three days late to the Reebok ABCD Camp last week, 6-9 Amir Johnson was clearly one of the most gifted campers at this year's event.

Blessed with tremendous athleticism, Johnson certainly ranks among the top prospects in the class of 2005, and based on his physical abilities and potential might be one of the more promising prospects in the class.

Johnson was late arriving to Teaneck last week because of summer school responsibilities. While he stuggled in the classroom his first two years at Verbum Dei High School, Westchester head coach Ed Azzam, where Johnson attended last year, told Inside The Ville earlier this summer that Johnson had done reasonably well with the books as a junior. Now, Johnson's making the commitment to get his academic house in order.

"It's going pretty good," Johnson said last week of his summer schooling. "I've got a couple of grades that I need to improve and that's what I'm trying to do right now."

Having recently verbally committed to the University of Louisville, Johnson explained that he's more relaxed during events like ABCD, where his performance earned him a spot in the senior All-Star game.

"Sure it's less pressure," Johnson admitted. "I can just go out and play my game and not worry about other things."

Johnson, who particpated in the talent-laden USA Basketball Developmental Festival earlier this month where he finished 14th in scoring (13 ppg) and 5th in field goal percentage (.65), turned in another stellar effort at ABCD. Besides an impressive 15 point, 8 board, 3 block effort Thursday night with U of L's Rick Pitino looking on, the athletic power forward dropped 17 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks in the all-star contest.

"I did all right though I didn't think I played up to my potential," Johnson said of his play in Colorado Springs. "I thought I played pretty good [at ABCD] because I played hard."

Though talented, like most young players, Johnson has a few areas of his game that need honing. To his credit, he's working hard during the off-season to improve those areas and committed to Louisville because of Coach Pitino's track record of developing talented athletes into future NBA prospects.

"I want to improve my shot and my dribbling this summer," Johnson said. "Coach Pitino is a good coach and I know he can help improve my skills."

Well on his way to handling his business on the hardwood, Johnson will spend the next several months doing the same in the classroom. If he succeeds with the books the way he does with a basketball, Louisville fans are going to be incredibly happy in 2005-06.

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