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NBA Draft Combine Measurements
Why You Might Know Him
By Taylor C. Snow
Stanley Johnson is a high school basketball legend in the state of California. He’s the only player in the state’s history to win four consecutive upper-division state titles, which he did with Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. He also made the college record books this past season as the first-ever recipient of the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year award.
Stanley Johnson looks like a natural scorer to me. I actually think he may play as much, if not more, shooting guard than small forward during his NBA career. I say this because he reminds me a whole lot of a taller Dwyane Wade, or a Kobe-sized shooting guard. He’s got a strong handle, sets his feet square to the basket and has a good release. He’s quick and decisive and at times showcases supreme body control. He’s able to create his own shot off of the dribble with a quick first step and variety of moves, including spins and crossovers. He’s also got a decent floater in his arsenal. Although Johnson is a legitimate slasher, he is not strong with the ball. He needs to be cognizant of swiping hands and control the ball as he attacks the basket, and also must improve his decision making. He prefers to take the ball off of the dribble with his right hand but must learn to balance that tendency out. Overall, I really like his offensive game and think he can become a legitimate scoring threat in the NBA. He’s also a capable defender, although I believe he has a way to go at that end of the court. He seems to be a willing and interested defender. He’s crafty and useful with his hands, capitalizing with quick and accurate swipes at the ball. However, I worry about his instincts and reactions. He’s very susceptible to being taken off of the dribble by quicker players, and he doesn't help and get back. I think he can score at the 2, but he may be a defensive liability at that position. He also challenges perimeter shots flat-footed. He’s got to change that and challenge in an agile position. The good news is that he’s an athletic, young prospect who cares and is very competitive. I think he’ll improve on defense, and he’s already a scorer with great rebounding instincts.
By Taylor C. Snow
Johnson was born on May 29, 1996 in Fullerton, Calif. to Karen Taylor and Stanley Johnson Sr. As an only child, he was raised by Taylor, who played professional basketball in Europe and is enshrined in the Jackson State Hall of fame. During his time at Mater Dei High School, Johnson became the first player in state history to win four straight upper-division state titles, guiding the Monarchs to a 135-5 overall record. During his senior season in 2014, he averaged 25.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.5 steals. For the second straight year, Mater Dei finished as the No. 1 ranked team in the Nation, with a 35-0 record. That season, Johnson piled up the accolades, earning MaxPreps National Player of the Year, California Mr. Basketball and Gatorade California Player of the Year. He earned the seventh spot on the ESPN 100 for the recruiting class of 2015. He was also well acclimated with USA Basketball during his high school career, as he won gold at the 2012 FIBA World Championship and took home MVP honors in a gold medal run at the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. Last season was Johnson’s only with Arizona and he did not disappoint. He averaged a team-high 13.8 points and notched 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, leading the two-seeded Wildcats to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament. His efforts earned him the inaugural Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year award. Johnson declared for the NBA Draft on April 23.