Natural Shot-Blocker

COLUMBIA, S.C. --- Herman Johnson has seen a lot of players in more than 20 years of coaching organized basketball. So, when there's an on-the-court quality or trait that leaves Johnson speechless or perplexed – you know it's real, and not hyperbole.

That's the case with the shot-blocking ability of his best player – and son – Brice Johnson.

"I don't know, that's hard to say," Herman Johnson said with a laugh when asked about Brice's shot-blocking skills. "That's just something that comes natural to him I think. It's something that's been helped by the camps he's played in and the places he's been at."

At the 10th annual Chick-fil-A Classic last week, Brice had 13 blocks in Edisto's two games.

"His post defense is pretty good and he has learned to help out on defense," Herman Johnson said. "Brice is very athletic and that helps him to recover from the weak side and block a lot of shots. That's a comfort for our guards, knowing they have him back there."

At 6-foot-9, Brice is often the tallest player on the court and relegated to playing strictly in the paint. Herman Johnson believes that, moving forward, Brice will have to improve his ability to matchup against quicker players.

"He can honestly play the '3', '4,' or the '5,'" explained Herman Johnson. "His biggest weakness right now is probably his footwork. Sometimes he's a little slow when he's switched off a screen and has to defend a guard on the perimeter. But, he's very athletic and runs the floor well for someone his size."

Herman Johnson said Brice has a high-basketball IQ and that, while he has a lot of natural basketball instincts, he's learned a lot from having a father who coached.

"He's always been in the gym with me, since he was a little boy," Herman Johnson said. "I guess you would call him a gym rat. He was always there, learning as much as he could. When he was little he was always with me, I guess you could call him a gym rat."

It was that willingness to learn and desire to be in the gym that helped catapult Johnson onto the national scene this past summer.

"We told him if you want to get somewhere you have to work," Herman Johnson said. "If your work habits are good, people will pay attention to you. If your work habits and your disposition are poor, no one will pay you any attention. If you work hard, stay positive and stay focused then you'll be rewarded."

Brice was rewarded with a scholarship offer – which he eventually accepted – to North Carolina.

"Everyone did a good job with how they recruited him," said Herman Johnson. "I let him make that decision because he was going to have to play there. He's always liked North Carolina.

"He'll fit in at UNC pretty well. With his athleticism and ability to run the floor, I think he'll do well."

Brice Johnson Profile

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