PGU Staff Writer
PointGuardU.com spent the end of Signing Day with Nick Johnson and his Findlay Prep (NV.) teammates. We learned a tremendous amount about the team and the school. The Pilots opened their season, and defense of their ESPN Rise Championship, with a 110-74 win over Impact Academy (NV.). Nick Johnson scored 25 points while helping his loaded team to victory. Johnson plays alongside well known stars such as Myck Kabongo, Winston Shepard, Landen Lucas, Amir Garrett, and Nigel Williams-Goss. The deep roster is the top ranked high school team in the nation.
Other than the Arizona coaching staff, nobody watched Nick Johnson more this summer than PointGuardU.com. The start of the high school season was no different, as PGU was in the gym at Henderson International to support Nick “Bunnies” Johnson and his teammates. It also happened to be the start of the early period for National Letters of Intent, so it was Johnson’s first game after officially becoming a Wildcat.
PGU had dozens of interviews with Johnson over the summer, from before he named Arizona a favorite to after his commitment, so there was no need to rehash the same old quotes. We knew he felt great to be a Wildcat and that the official end of his recruitment was a huge relief for him. Johnson can now turn his attention to what he does best: winning.
Watching Johnson and his Oakland Soldiers teammates at summer AAU events, the focus was all basketball and recruitment. Watching Johnson at Findlay Prep, it was obvious it’s about much more than basketball.
Fans might not know that Findlay Prep is a part of the Henderson International School, a top K-8 private school. Findlay Prep is a special program for talented basketball players to receive a great education, as well as play for a top team and have access to first class facilities and coaches. The Henderson International School de-emphasized their high school programs last year due to economic factors, but still offers courses for the ten players on the Findlay roster, as well as any other students that wish to return. Being a high school athlete at a K-8 school means these players aren’t just tall role models for the kids, they are mentors and heroes.
Imagine being in 5th grade and your basketball team starts 5 Division 1 level players. Now imagine the star shooting guard is the TA for your class. That’s the relationship these kids have with Johnson. They regularly stop him in the halls to say hi or give him a hug. The same goes for the other players on the team. Like at the World Cup, when players are introduced they each come out with a student from Henderson International. It’s no wonder that the gym was packed with more supporters than last year, from parents to the middle school cheerleading team.
Now that his recruitment is officially over, Johnson can be a regular student, or at least as regular as it gets for a 6’3” NBA prospect. For many media outlets, signing day is the end of their coverage, usually indicating all the stored up quotes and pictures from the summer have been used up. At PGU, it’s just the beginning as we follow the future Wildcats throughout their senior seasons, much like Daniel Bejarano last year. Nick Johnson is officially part of the Wildcat family, which means we welcome him into the PGU family. Stay tuned during the season for updates on Johnson and his Findlay Prep squad as they seek their third straight ESPN Rise National Championship.
Click here for the video interview and transcript.