Johnson, Findlay Prep shut down highly-touted forward in rompby Javier Morales on Nov. 20, 2010, under Sports
This item is one of the notes that will be published later today at WildcatSportsReport.com as part of its “Nothing But the Notes” package
DeAndre Daniels, a 6-foot-7, 195-pound standout from Woodland Hills, Calif., could not negotiate a basket against Nick Johnson and other Findlay defenders in about 20 minutes of playing time Friday during IMG Academy’s 136-69 loss at the Henderson (Nev.) International School gymnasium.
Daniels was beset with foul trouble from the start, with three in the first half. He eventually fouled out. Daniels, who exhausted his eligibility in high school, is playing one season for IMG to prepare himself one more season for the collegiate level. His suitors include Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida. He originally committed to Texas in July 2009 but de-committed this August.
Johnson, a high-profile Class of 2011 Arizona signee, had a determined look on his face when he told me after the game that he and the Pilots “just wanted to make a statement” by limiting Daniels as much as possible.
“They had a top player coming in, so we knew that they were going to be a tough project coming in,” Daniels said. “From the get-go, I wanted to guard him and just wanted to make a statement. He did not score.”
When asked what he takes pride in the most — his offense with his above-the-rim dynamics and three-point shooting or his suffocating defense — Johnson said his defense feeds his offense.
“I like to say my defense leads into my offense,” he said. “Whenever I have a big game it’s because I am playing defense hard and I am getting into my defender in the midst of the offensive part. I guess I’d like to say it’s my defense (of which he’s most proud).”
In one sequence, Johnson stripped the ball from Daniels, who in turn fouled Johnson by barrelling into him so Johnson could not convert a breakaway dunk.
Speaking of dunks, Johnson converted a highlight reel alley-oop slam off a Myck Kabongo pass in the first half that undoubtedly would have challenged for an ESPN Top 10 play if it was at the next level. Johnson received the pass with his side lined up with the basket. He twisted in mid-air so that he finished with a two-handed behind-the-back emphatic dunk.
“Nick has a bounce like I’ve never seen in my life,” Kabongo, a Texas signee, said of the play. “You throw it up there and he’s gonna get it.”
Johnson compared his deft synchronicity with Kabongo to that of him and fellow UA signee Josiah Turner, an AAU teammate with the Drew Gooden Soldiers.
“We just connect with our eyes,” Johnson said of his Findlay backcourt mate. “It’s chemistry. We work on (the alley-oop) before and after practice all the time. It’s just chemistry.”
Playing with Turner, of Sacramento (Calif.) High School, for the first time this summer was a revelation for Johnson.
“Just playing one summer of club ball with Josiah opened my eyes to what a great point guard he can be to a team,” Johnson said.
UA fans will finally get their chance to see them together in about 11 months.
Also read an update about Findlay’s Class of 2013 guard Nigel Williams-Goss, who has Arizona high on his list, at our partner site WILDABOUTAZCATS.com