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Warren County's Johnson earns MVP honors at Florida State camp

Stanley Johnson, Jr., got off to somewhat of a sluggish start during the Annual Prep Basketball Summer Camp hosted at Florida State University in Tallahassee last week.

But by the time it was all over, the 17-year-old Warren County High School basketball star had earned respect, as well as accolades from peers and coaches, alike.

As his reward for demonstrating his talents on the court among 74 other prep and college basketball players from throughout the country, the rising junior point guard took home Most Valuable Player honors.

Johnson, the son of Stanley Johnson, of Thomson, and Monique Hill, of Warrenton, was jubilant about such a prestigious honor.

"It feels great," said the soft-spoken Johnson.

The trip to Tallahassee - home of the Florida State Seminoles - was Johnson's first-ever visit to a major college basketball camp. For that reason, alone, Warren County's new boys' head basketball coach, Levon Grant was excited for one of his newest star players.

"I'm extremely proud of Stanley," said Coach Grant during an interview on Monday at The McDuffie Mirror. "I saw a lot of promise in Stanley. He showed everybody down there just a few flashes of his real talent."

Coach Grant believes that Johnson is destined to have "a most-promising" prep career and believes he has what it takes to play major college basketball someday.

"Stanley has the talent to go a long way in basketball," said Coach Grant. "It's all up to him where it takes it."

Coach Grant said one of Johnson's first and foremost requirements is to work hard in the classroom and make good grades.

"It's very important that he excel in the classroom, because without good grades, he'll never reach his goal of playing college basketball when he graduates from high school," added Coach Grant.

Johnson has vowed to do whatever it takes to reach the next level after his high school playing days - although that's two years away.

The prep star, who saw limited action as a reserve player his sophomore year, is expected to guide the Screaming Devils, offensively. Already, Coach Grant is anticipating big things from Johnson.

"I see a lot of potential in Stanley," said Coach Grant. "He's definitely got a lot of talent to play this game."

Johnson averaged eight points per game, three rebounds and six assists last season.

Even though basketball season is a ways off, Johnson is thinking about his upcoming junior season.

"I'm hoping to have a real good season," said Johnson, noting that he plans to do everything he can to lead the Screaming Devils to a region title and a possible shot at a state championship.

Johnson's trip to Florida State University was funded by the Warren County Athletic Department.

"I appreciate very much the support I've received from the school's athletic department since I've been here," said Coach Grant.

While at the FSU basketball camp, which in part was made possible because of Coach Grant's close friendship with FSU Assistant Coach Brad Peters, Johnson impressed two well-known Georgia prep basketball coaches, Mark Cane of North Gate High School in Newnan and Mark Andrews of Pike County High School.

"They really thought Stanley did a real good job," said Coach Grant. "It really made me feel good to be his coach. And I think it made Stanley feel real good, too."

More than anything, Coach Grant, the two veteran coaches were impressed with Johnson's style, his attitude and his skill-level.

Coach Grant says his star player displays a strong work-ethic and describes him as "a gym rat." Johnson loves playing basketball every chance he gets.

While attending the four-day camp last week, Johnson met Los Angeles Clippers' Al Thornton, as well as Isaiah Swann and Jason Rich - all former basketball stars at Florida State.

This year marked the fourth year that Coach Grant has been affiliated with the FSU Summer Basketball Program.

Johnson aspires to someday play in the NBA or in the European League.

"I think his dream is attainable, as long as he continues to work hard," said Coach Grant.

Web posted on Thursday, July 31, 2008

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