Hornets.com 1-on-1: Portland's Chris Johnson

Hornets.com 1-on-1: Portland's Chris Johnson
By: Calder Hynes, Hornets.com
March 30, 2011

Hornets.com caught up with Portland Trail Blazers and ex-LSU center Chris Johnson prior to Wednesday’s game at the New Orleans Arena.

Johnson, recently signed for the remainder of the season by Portland, is in his rookie season in the NBA. The 6-foot-11 big man was previously serving 10-day contracts with the Boston Celtics and Trail Blazers this season in between stints in the NBA’s Developmental League with the Dakota Wizards. Basketball has brought the 25-year-old all around the world in pursuit of his dream, four years of which were spent here in Louisiana:

Hornets.com: You were born in Washington D.C. but spent four years (‘05-‘06 to ‘08-’09) in Louisiana playing college basketball at LSU. What are you memories of that time?
Johnson: I had a great time the four years I was there. It was a different culture form Virginia. I loved it. The people were extremely nice.

Hornets.com: What was the deciding factor that brought you to LSU?
Johnson: Virginia Tech was interested, but I liked the school (LSU) on my visit and felt like it would be a great home for me.

Hornets.com: While at LSU, did you ever visit New Orleans?
Johnson: I only visited New Orleans three times while I was at LSU, twice to play and the other one was to visit the museums in the city.

Hornets.com: You played for Trent Johnson at the end of your Tigers career, how did you like him as a coach?
Johnson: Him coming into the program (in 2008), he had a presence about him that he wanted to change things. I thought coach Johnson was a good coach. He is a little strict, but at that time, we needed it. We weren’t very disciplined, and he brought that and we got to the tournament.

Hornets.com: After college, you played professionally abroad. Where did you play and what was that change like for you?
Johnson: I went to Turkey and then Poland. It was real different. People live differently there, everything is different – they drive differently, everything!

Hornets.com: This season, you returned to the United States and played 35 games for the Dakota Wizards in the NBDL before catching on in the NBA. How did that experience contribute to your growth as a player?
Johnson: It helps a lot because there are coaches in the D-League that have been in the NBA and who want to get back to the NBA as well. It helps you prepare for the NBA game; it’s a lot faster, a lot better players, a lot more talent. I feel like the D-League helped me develop my game to another level.

Hornets.com: How difficult is it to play on a 10-day contract?
Johnson: It’s difficult, but it’s 10 days, and you have to make the best of it day-by-day. You have to work as hard as you can. The one thing you can control is your attitude and what you bring every single day. Most of the time, the rest will take care of itself.

Hornets.com: What was the feeling like when the Blazers told you they were signing you for the remainder of the season?
Johnson: It felt good. It meant that all my hard work paid off and my journey is just beginning. It was a blessing.

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