Brandon Johnson is a 28 year old 183cm guard from Houston, Texas that signed with German BBL team Crailsheim Merlins. He started his basketball career at San Diego(NCAA) in 2005 and played there until 2010 playing a total of 134 NCAA games and as a senior played 29 games averaging 14.0ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.4apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 35.4%, 3PT: 32.2%, FT: 77.9%. He turned professional in 2010 and played for the Dakota Wizards (D-League) playing 24 games: 6.3ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 41.0%, 3PT: 20.8%, FT: 82.2%. Two seasons ago he played for Hoops Club (Lebanon-Division A) playing 5 games: 17.2ppg, 5.4rpg, 6.6apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 32.6%, 3PT: 25.5%, FT: 64.5%. Last season he finally made his big breakthrough in Europe with the t Cuxhaven BasCats (Germany-ProA) coming in the second half of the season and saving their year and played 12 games averaging 21.9ppg, 4.8rpg, 5.6apg, 2.8spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 44.6%, FT: 70.3%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Brandon thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
I’m currently in Houston my summer was amazing after Germany I went out to Dominican Republic then came back home to Houston spent some time with the family then hit the road for some national tournaments out in Chicago and recently just flew back in from China. So a lot of basketball this summer from a competing standpoint I usually do more individual training”
Congrats on signing with the Crailsheim Merlins. I don’t know if you are superstitious, but some players tend to be, but with your luck in the last 9 months does it feel like the letter C has been a good letter for you since Cuxhaven and Crailsheim have this fine letter?
I guess you right because Christ has truly been amazing in my journey
The Cinderella story continues for you. After 3 years of trying to revamp your professional career, you made your break out with Cuxhaven and now have moved up to the best level in Germany BBL. Is it strange for you that your professional career didn´t really get started until the age of 28 with Cuxhaven?
I wouldn’t say strange other players maybe strange but mine has a understanding. By that I mean with the case and everything that was against me I was incapable to truly start my career
You credit a lot to God for your recent success, but please explain how you have been able to really come out of nowhere and have an amazing season in the German Pro A with Cuxhaven?
I think it had a lot to do with the timing when I went to Cuxhaven what I mean by timing is I had just finished the entire process from my case that was a huge lift off my shoulders to finally be able to play the game I love freely.
You stated in our interview earlier in the year that you weren´t the savior of the Cuxhaven Bascats, but that you brought unique characteristics to the team. What was the most unique characteristic that you brought to the table last season? Possibly your leadership which seemed to be missing at the time when you came?
My ability to lead was key in helping us become a better team but I have to give credit to my teammates it’s not often a team embrace a player on the first day and they understood what was missing and accepted it they wanted to win just as bad as I did. Coach Moris was strategic as he took over the head coaching job he did a great job in finding the pieces the team needed
You played only 12 games, but if the Pro A only had had 12 games you would have been player of the year since you averaged 21.9ppg, 4.8rpg, 5.6apg, 2.8spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 44.6%, FT: 70.3%. This was your first full season in Europe. What was your secret to adjusting so well to the style of the Pro A where you dominated?
Watching film is key for me I love to study the games after we play I’m not only watching me I’m looking at my teammates tendencies their strengths and weaknesses making them better makes the game easier for me
When you look back at the last three years, the prison time, lost contracts to what you have achieved in 2015 with Cuxhaven and now signing with Crailsheim, how confident were you coming to Cuxhaven that you could make an impact despite having had so much misfortune pretty much since you turned professional in 2010?
Me personally I believe in my talents and what I can do far as the game of basketball but to take a team from a struggling situation to being a more respected team by the end of the year was something I couldn’t predict the turn around with the team was so fast. With all the adversity not playing a full year in so long a lot of it was a shock
It continues to be a period of proving yourself as now you have made the next jump to Crailsheim. After your stellar time at Cuxhaven, did you see yourself having more and better offers this summer?
I truly just leave it all up to God I don’t really worry to much about job opportunities all I can do is sell my product and hope they buy. I did feel more confident and relaxed this summer after that season laying a solid foundation last year.
Crailsheim was one of the weaker teams last season in the BBL and only are able to play BBL this season because TBB Trier folded. What were the main reasons for going to the Crailsheim Merlins?
They reached out to me very early in the offseason stage one of my main things this summer was to sign early and get it out the way so I can just focus on training and preparing for the upcoming season. Coach explained the plan for next season and what he wanted to do the system he wants to run two guard back which I am familiar with throughout college I thought it would be an easy transition for me
The Beko BBL is faster and has better players than the Pro A. How confident are you that you won´t only succeed, but also be an impact player in the best league in Germany?
I’m not sure how I will do but I think that’s the best thing about sports is there so unpredictable.
Coach Ingo Enskat stated that your biggest challenge will be creating for a balanced team while still bringing your strengths to the team. What are you most looking forward to presenting the audience in the Beko BBL?
In general when I’m done with the game of basketball I want people to say he always left it all out on the floor Win or lose but if I had to be specific I want to impose my personality on them having fun with the game
You will be forming a guard duo with Jordan Callahan who played at Tulane and the last two seasons in Poland and Belgium. How excited are you be playing with him and challenging each other in practice every single day?
I’m very excited did some research on him love his game always great to compete at a high level in practice prepares you better for the games and just really as a player getting better is key
You stress how important God has been in your life. Where would Brandon Johnson be today without God?
Not even close to where I am now the strength I get from the word of God is indescribable my journey is very unique without basketball being the topic I’ve been through so much to accomplish the things I have I know he’s really a lot of times I couldn’t even think of a way to keep going but God is good
The Cuxhaven Bascats suffered a severe blow and this season have a new formed club and will play in the Regionaliga. Do you believe that the Cuxhaven basketball program will fight their way back to a higher league?
I watch coach Moris last year with Cuxhaven the man did hard work and dedication is contagious if he’s the head coach I got faith they will be back in a top league in no time
What do you see the Dallas Mavericks accomplishing this season in the NBA? With anew point guard Deron Williams and an aging Dirk Nowitzki is there a run possible?
I think this in a rebuilding stage they have some good pieces but not enough to get it done next season.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Do you ever see him being mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan?
I actually think Lebron James is the best ever. We will never see another human being with his talents we should appreciate it while we can
What was the last movie that you saw?
Jurassic Park goof movie but great in 3D.
Thanks Brandon for the chat.