NBA Prospect Armon Johnson Q + A
Nevada’s first round hopeful discusses his Pre-Draft preparations.
SLAM: What goes through your head when you are in the midst of these workouts? Are you nervous, anxious, excited?
AJ: Basically I’m starting to get used to it more and more. But the first couple of workouts I was extremely nervous. I didn’t really know what to expect. Now that I’ve been through a few, it’s not too much to ask for. I’m starting to get the hang of what they want me to do. There’s not much I can’t do on the court so is all going good for me so far.
SLAM: How long have your workouts usually been?
AJ: All the teams have different workouts. But mainly about an hour and 15 minutes.
SLAM: Toughest workout you’ve had so far?
AJ: Memphis. Just the attention to detail that you had to make so that you could focus on what they were saying from the beginning ’til the end. And just trying to show that you can listen without having to ask all these questions. That was just part of metal toughness I would say.
SLAM: Many say that the reason why so many underclassman declared for the Draft this year was because there could be a lockout after next season if a new collective bargaining agreement is not set in place. Did that play any factor in your decision to declare for the Draft?
AJ: Definitely not because that’s not a certain thing right now and if that does happen I’m hoping that everything goes back in to how it is right now. So, you know, that definitely did not have a factor in to my decision.
SLAM: If you had to summarize your career at Nevada, how would you describe it?
AJ: I would describe my career at Nevada as fun. I had a lot of fun and got a chance to learn a lot. Just learning how to play point guard; I never played point guard until I got to college and coming there and learning how to play point guard from day one was a great experience for me.
SLAM: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make from being a shooting guard in high school to being a point guard in college?
AJ: Just that I had to defer to my team. It was about what was most important for my team before I thought about my own shot or scoring. If scoring was what was best for my team then that’s what I would do but I would also have to think about everyone’s personality all the time. Point guard is a lot different, you know. It’s kinda like you gotta have everyone happy with you at all times on the court.
SLAM: Some reports have you going late first round or early second round. Does it really matter to you where you land at this point?
AJ: It matters where I land, but it doesn’t really matter what people are saying about it because a lot of these people aren’t at these workouts or with NBA teams and the front offices, so they don’t know what they are talking about to that extend. I definitely want to be in a position where it’s going to help me out. I want to be in a position where I’m going to come in and play immediately. I don’t want to sit on the bench unless that’s what the coach needs me to do if I could help the team that way. That’s something I’m not really looking in to at the point.
SLAM: What are some of the feedback that you have gotten from teams so far? What have they been telling you?
AJ: Just basically that I’ve been performing well in these workouts and showing that I can really do the things that they’ve been saying I have trouble doing. They’ve all seen that I’m actually very good at these things. I’m just getting a lot of positive feedback. I’ve haven’t heard anything negative so far. I’m glad about that actually.
SLAM: What type of things do they have you doing i these workouts to try to evaluate your guard skills?
AJ: We usually start out the workouts by going over some drills just to see where our skill level is at, showing them how many shots we can knock down and things like that. And then we go on to play 1-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-3. That’s where I’ve really been trying to excel. That’s where I’ve been shinning at. At every one of these workouts I’ve been playing my best game.
SLAM: What are some of the notable guards that you’ve workout out with?
AJ: I’ve been in workouts with Eric Bledsoe, Avery Bradley, Scottie Reynolds. You know, some big name players that everyone thinks could be some pretty good guards. And I’m just trying to show that I’m up there in that elite status. I’m not just a guy that went to the University of Nevada, some small school. Just because I went to a small school I’m trying to show that I can play with anybody.
SLAM: Do you feel that because you went to a smaller school you’re at a disadvantage to those that went to high ranked schools?
AJ: I think so. I used to feel like I needed to work harder and that’s always been my driving force; that everybody overlooks me. And I kinda use that as a chip on my shoulder. I see it as something I really drive myself with. So when everyone overlooks me that’s just a driving force and pushes me every time. I feel like now that we’re by ourselves at these workouts, it’s not a team thing anymore, that I really have a chance to show that if your take off the name in front of the jersey then we can play.
SLAM: What specifically are you trying to show the scouts and coaches at these workouts?
AJ: I’m trying to show them that I can run a team. I can do everything on the court. Just trying to show them that I can defend, I can shoot the ball, and that I’m a much better defensive player than I get credit for, which is something that gets overlooked a lot.
SLAM: From going city to city for these workouts, would you say that it catches up to you and gets you exhausted from traveling?
AJ: Yeah, yeah. Going from these different time zones can really mess you up. So you just gotta make sure that you are eating right. That’s what I’ve been doing because before I even got on this workout trail I started eating right and getting focused and ready to go.
SLAM: What is your mentality as you go in to these workouts?
AJ: Just trying to stay on my grind. My mentality is eat or get eaten.