Thursday, April 26, 2012

Avery Johnson to UC Davis

USF sophomore transfer Avery Johnson headed a bit north in locating his new educational and athletic destination, with the 6-foot-3 backcourter choosing UC Davis of the Big West Conference.

So why the Aggies for the longtime southern California native?

"Mainly Coach [Jim] Les, his experience, his interest in me and the style of play he wants to use," Johnson explained. "I wanted a change in environment and Coach Les has a vision and it's where I want to be. He believes in me and I believe in him."

And just what will he be bringing to The Pavilion?

Johnson offered, "my basketball IQ, my length which is a different look at the point, just using my athleticism to play fast and uptempo."

Les is one year into the job at Davis and bringing in talents best suited for his preferred style of play. That being getting after it, up and down the court, according to Johnson.  "It really involves reading both defenders and teammates," Johnson explained.

The graduate of Ocean View High in Huntington Beach averaged nine and a half minutes of play in 31 games this past season for the Dons. Two of his numbers demand further investigation: 18 assists versus nine turnovers, a solid ratio for someone intermittently on the court and on a team lacking outside shooting consistency, plus 15 steals, which pro-rated for minutes played, would be in the mix with the USF team leaders.

Coming out of high school, Johnson was a widely heralded prospect. Being a four-year varsity player who averaged 17.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game as a senior, he captured Division 3AA All-CIF honors as well as being a 2010 First Team All-Orange County selection. That same year, he led his school to the CIF Southern California Regional Division III semifinals. As a junior in 2009, Johnson was the CIF Division IV-AA Player of the Year while earning First Team honors.

What are Johnson's plans for his upcoming redshirt season?

"Adapt to the system so I can run it well, and work on my shooting and my point guard abilities."

Asked about who has been the biggest basketball influence on him, Johnson replied, "My Father, definitely. In tough times and good times, he has always been there. He lives in Long Beach but traveled to my home games at USF."

He is a communications major at USF but isn't yet sure what his primary source of study will be at Davis.

Avery Johnson. The current head coach of the New York Nets enjoys the exact same name, played the point for 16 years in the NBA and sported the nickname "Little General" due to his ballhandling and passing prowess. His namesake here in California wouldn't mind earning the same moniker for his play with the Aggies.

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