Bryan Johnson is a guard from Bogalusa, Louisiana that played high school ball at Bogalusa and Bensford academy. He then played at William Carey University. He played at the 2021 Howard Hoops Combine in Germany. He took some time to talk to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Bryon thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you held up the last months through this pandemic?
I want to thank eurobasket.com for giving me this opportunity. Through this entire quarantine I have been located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It has been a little difficult to find a gym I must say. Especially, with the COVID cases going up daily.
How have you been keeping in shape best during COVID-19? Did you make a special plan so that you could train and work on your game as best as you could despite the tough times?
During the tough times my gym was closed for the first stage of COVID-19 I just used the outside city parks to stay in shape. I did have to travel a few hours just to use someone’s gym to put up shots work on ball handling and defensive slides sometimes.
How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man? What have you learned about yourself that you didn’t know about earlier?
I can definitely say COVID-19 made me a stronger man mentally because it put me in a lot of difficult situations especially when it came time for me to help my family. The difficult times made me realize that I can go through anything as long as I keep a positive mind set and stay consistent.
You are from Louisiana. Talk a little about your childhood. You attended W.T White high school. When did you know that you were hit with the basketball bug?
When I was growing up I watched a lot of sports with my family. My favorite players were Tracy Mcgrady, Derrick Rose and Allen Iverson. I attended Bogalusa high school for a bit then transferred to Bensford Academy. During that changing of schools I met a few coaches and worked out with them a few times. They told me that I had game and should play travel ball , but my family couldn’t afford it. So I just played for the schools and made the most out of my opportunity.
When you were growing up who were your main basketball inspirations and how did they influence your game the most?
I can say growing up my inspiration was my grandfather as he always watched sports when I came to visit him. He would always say, watch grandson you might learn something. I felt that gave me the confidence I needed to get started with sports at a young age.
Talk a bit about the basketball experience that you have had in your life. You played at William Carey University. What kind of experience was this and how do you feel did you benefit most from the opportunity?
I can say my basketball experience has taught me a lot. Especially, when it comes to having chemistry with people and learning how to trust in difficult situations. My time at William Carey University had it’s ups and downs. I had to learn a new system and basically change my game. In high school I played point guard and when I got to college they put me at shooting guard. So I pretty much ran off screens and learned how to play without the ball in my hand. Which helped me push my game to another level. I became a very good shooter in the process.
How big is the chip on your shoulder in general? Have you been one of those guys that was always doubted and haven’t had fair opportunities? How tough is it having to accept your situation and how big is your chip on your shoulder grown over time?
The chip on my shoulder is always going to be there. During my time at William Carey University it was tough. I had to fight for every minute of playing time I got. The coach that recruited me left to go coach at another school after my red shirt year. When he left it wasn’t the same. I wanted to transfer to the Juco he was at, but I would of only had one year to play because it was a community college so I stayed at William Carey University. I honestly should of left because all I did was get recruited over from the new coaches bringing their players in. It taught me a lot about people and how the system works. I became a much stronger person that learned how to just work hard and be consistent.
Do you have any kind of professional experience? Or is the Howard Hoops Combine tour your professional debut?
I have worked out with professional oversees player, but that’s about it. I am really looking forward to my first debut with the Howard Hoops Tour.
Let’s talk a bit about your game. You’re a two way guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
If I was to compare my game to an NBA player it would be an Avery Bradley or Patrick Beverley.
Your a very good offensive player that can shoot as well as find the open man. But you also give 100% on the defensive end. How much pride do you take on being a hard nosed defender?
I take pride in my defense because I don’t like when the other team scores. It should be a hard battle every time for them.
On what things are you currently working on so that you can continue to get better as a player as you attempt to climb the basketball ladder the next years?
What I mainly focus on is my ball handling and developing my IQ because I believe in making the right decisions at the right time. I feel like if I continue to develop my understanding of the 1 and 2 position the sky is the limit for me.
You took part at the Howard Hoops Combine in August. How excited are you to play in Germany and how hungry are you to show everyone that you have game?
I am very excited to participate in the Howard Hoops Tour. The game will speak for itself. I’m just going to continue to work on my craft and learn from others around me.
I was working out with one of my high school coaches and he was like man you should try and go overseas. So I contacted the coach that recruited me from William Carey University and he told me about Ronald Howard. Then we started from there.
Ronald Howard has a great track record of helping players find jobs. How aware are you that you have a real golden opportunity to get a job because of him?
The coach that recruited me told me that Ronald Howard is the real deal no gimmicks. If you show him you are serious he will be behind you one hundred percent.
Have you met Ronald Howard and trained with him. He truly cares for the best for his players. How have you gone to appreciate him as a coach and person the most?
I haven’t had the opportunity to train with Ron yet , but just by speaking with him on the phone I could feel the energy of greatness. He is definitely someone you need in your corner. The man is about his business.
With what kind of personal expectations did you have heading into the Howard Hoops Combine? What kind of player will we see in Bryan Johnson?
My main focus heading into the Howard hoops tour is to win with my team and enjoy doing it. of course want an overseas contract that would be a dream come true. The most important thing is just learning from other people and continue to get better every day. The type of player you should expect from Bryan Johnson is someone that is going to bring positive energy and confidence to his team.
Who was the toughest player that you ever faced on the playground or in a gym that has been in the NBA?
I would say there has been a lot of overseas players and a few G League players I have played against in open gyms I don’t really no them by name.
Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of 4 heads past or present.
My NBA Mount Rushmore is Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant
Where were you when you heard of the death of Kobe Bryant? How did he influence you the most when you were growing up as a kid?
I was actually sleep at the time and my phone was just going off like crazy. So I woke up and looked at my news feed saying Kobe Bryant and Gigi died in a plane crash. I just couldn’t believe one of the greatest players the world has ever seen dead just like that. Kobe Bryant influenced me with his fade away. My grandfather and Aunt loved to watch Kobe Bryant. He was the first NBA player I remember seeing on TV.
Why isn’t Kobe mentioned in the standard conversation of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
I honestly believe everyone has their own opinion of who is the greatest. When you take the time and just look at the film of those players you will see the skill level. Kobe Bryant is the most skilled in my opinion out of Michael Jordan and Lebron James. The man’s footwork is off the charts. It can’t be matched at all.
Will you be following the NBA restart? Do you feel like we could see a surprise winner this season with all the drama that has happened with COVID-19?
I will most certainly be following the NBA restart this season. I believe that the Lakers will bring it home this year. It will be a tough road for them, but they will be victororious in the end.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was called Hanna.
Thanks Bryan for the chat.