Johnson Ready to Learn

Brice Johnson wants to make sure his last few weeks at home are memorable. Scheduled to arrive in Chapel Hill on June 17, Johnson is hanging with friends, relaxing with family and spending time with his father before enrolling in the second summer session at UNC.

He's even got some new wheels to do it in.

After graduating from Edisto (S.C.) High School last month, Johnson's father -- and Edisto head coach -- Herman Johnson bought his son a new car.

"This is his first car," Herman Johnson said. "This summer will be his chance to drive and enjoy himself. It'll be something for him to come back and forth with."

Herman Johnson called his son's graduation "bittersweet."

"We've been together – just me and him – for a while and sometimes it's been hard, but I'm just so proud of him. As a coach, when you get someone who has the opportunity to play at the next level, at a place like North Carolina, it's definitely something special."

"It was a great moment for me," said Brice of graduation. "I've been working hard to get to this point for a long time."

The hard work for Brice will continue when he gets to Carolina.

In addition to the rigors of being a Division I student-athlete – mandatory weightlifting sessions, conditioning drills and individual workouts – Johnson will also have to learn to balance his academic responsibilities.

It's a challenge he's ready to accept.

"I'm just looking forward to going up there and learning," he said. "On the basketball court and in the classroom."

With the departures of Tyler Zeller and John Henson, Brice's on-the-court challenge could be contributing to a team that lacks experienced post play outside of sophomore James Michael McAdoo.

One way he plans to prepare for seeing a lot of minutes his freshman year is summer pickup at UNC.

"I played in some games last year on one of my visits," he said. "I'm just looking forward to playing in games with all the guys. I can learn some things from the older guys."

The incoming freshman class – Brice, J.P. Tokoto, Marcus Paige and Joel James – will be roommates this year.

"Those are my brothers," Johnson said. "We talk all the time – we talk about any and everything."

One of the first things on Johnson's agenda once he settles in at UNC will be picking a uniform number. He originally wanted No. 10, however it was worn by Tar Heel legend Lennie Rosenbluth and is retired.

While he says there is some nervousness and emotions that will undoubtedly come when Brice heads to Chapel Hill, Herman Johnson trusts the UNC coaching staff.

"It's going to be emotional to see him go, because he's my only one," he said. "To put your trust in someone else to look after him, that's going be kind of hard. But, I think he's going to be in good hands. Between the man upstairs and the folks at Carolina, he'll be OK."

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