NBA Prospect Armon Johnson Q + A
Nevada’s first round hopeful discusses his Pre-Draft preparations.
by Franklyn Calle
With only hours to go before the 2010 NBA Draft, all Pre-Draft preparations have come to an end. For players like Armon Johnson (pronounced Ar-Mon), his performance at the Pre-Draft team workouts will determine whether he will go to bed tonight with a guaranteed contract or not. He is projected to go late first round or early second. All it takes is one bad showing for teams to decide to pass.
Last week as the former Nevada standout was in town for a workout with the New York Knicks, I had a chance to catch up him and discuss his Pre-Draft preparations. The 6-3 guard might not be as well renowned as some of the other guards available for tonight’s Draft but a quick look at his track record in the Western Athletic Conference will show you just how much of valuable addition he can be to any franchise.
Although he did not play point guard position before college, Johnson managed to lead the team in assists in all three of his seasons. As a freshman, he started 32 of 33 the games at the 1, averaging 11.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.36 assists, capturing the 2008 WAC Freshman of the Year award. During his sophomore campaign, the Chicago native finished with First Team All-WAC honors after averaging 15.5 points (second on the team, seventh in the conference), 4.3 assists (led the team, fifth in the conference). This past season, Johnson finished Second Team All-WAC. He averaged 15.7 points per game (second on the team, eighth in the conference), 5.56 assists (led the conference, 22nd in the nation), while shooting 49.5 percent from the field.
Despite proving to be one of the top point guards in the Western Athletic Conference last season, some of the criticism has been whether he can effectively run the point guard position at the next level. Some also question his jump shot consistency. The very quick and aggressive guard possesses a strong frame that’s more than NBA ready.
Don’t sleep on him.
SLAM: What made you decide to come out of college this year and not return for your senior year at Nevada?
Armon Johnson: That was part of my goal when I went in to college. It’s part of reality. I’ve decided I’m ready. I’m as ready as I’ve ever been.
SLAM: So you knew coming in to college that you would only do three years?
AJ: Well… yeah. Ramon Sessions did it the year before I came. I kind of felt like that was a nice map out for me, and get a education at the same time and fulfill my dream.
SLAM: Some regard you as a combo guard. What position do you plan to play at the next level?
AJ: The 1. Not even a question. I’m not even thinking about the 2.
SLAM: What teams have you worked out with so far?
AJ: The Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis, Miami and New York.
SLAM: What have the workouts consisted of? What have the teams had you doing and what are they looking for?
AJ: Basically, they are trying to see if I can shoot the ball and I’ve showed them that I could shoot the ball better than they think I can. And seeing how I am as a player and as a person. They get to watch me a lot over the year but they don’t really get to see my full game because it’s in a school setting and under a different culture. In these workouts it’s a lot better because they get to see the individual.
SLAM: Like you said, they don’t get a chance to see your personality too well during the season, so what do you try to show them about show personality that they don’t get a chance to see on TV or in the stands?
AJ: Well, just that I’m a real good person. A lot of people around me love my personality and I just would like to show the teams that they are going to love my personality as well. And I think they are.
SLAM: Tell me a little about your Pre-Draft personal preparation schedule. What does the day look like from the moment you get up?
AJ: I wake I’ll say about 7:30. I get a good breakfast in me. Then I’m at the gym at 8 a.m. stretching out and getting ready for my first workout. That’s usually with a group or by myself, either way. One of my workouts will be with a group; the next one will be by myself. I get out on the court and do a lot of different things like all kind of different skills, all kind of shooting drills, moving around and just incorporate everything that I might be doing in these workouts. Once I’m done with that workout then I’m in the weight room to work on my strength and my core workouts. Then after that I got get some lunch at about 12:30 and be back in about an hour. After lunch I get back at it. Two workouts a day including a third workout at night just for shooting.