Colorado Springs, Colo. • June 16, 2011
Stanley Johnson is your typical, laid-back Californian. He likes relaxing, hanging out on the beach and joking around with friends. While the Fullerton, Calif., native is a talented basketball player, he also excels in another one of his hobbies: music.
“I love music,” Johnson said. “It can change your mood from bad to good, or get you pumped for a game.”
Johnson lists R&B and soft rock as his favorite genres, but the athlete is also a musician, himself.
“It’s not like anything serious because I play basketball so much,” Johnson said, “but I play the clarinet and ukulele.”
While Johnson doesn’t play his instruments at school, it’s a hobby he enjoys doing during his free time.
“When I’m bored at home, after homework and shooting, I usually play.”
Johnson has an ear for music, saying he doesn’t take lessons, but has picked up what he knows through others.
“I have a lot of Samoan friends, and they all play the ukulele,” Johnson said. “I just kind of watched them play and learned from them.”
Johnson may have a secret talent in music, but what he is known for are his basketball skills. The 6-5 forward aided Mater Dei High School to a 32-3 record and the 2011 CIF California Division I championship during his freshman season. For his efforts, he was selected as a 2011 MaxPreps.com Freshman All-America honorable mention.
He first showcased his skills to USA Basketball in October at the 2010 Men’s Developmental National Team mini-camp, and was invited back to compete for a roster spot on the 2011 USA Men’s U16 National Team.
On Sunday, Johnson was announced as one of the 12 members that will compete for a gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championship for Men, June 21-25 in Cancun, Mexico.
“I’m really honored to be on the team,” he said. “I really wanted to be on the team to represent my country and play real hard to win a gold medal. I’m really honored to have that chance.”
Johnson and his teammates have been training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., all week, with the training camp wrapping up Friday.
He wasn’t quite sure what to expect from his first training camp, but says the thing that surprised him most ere the effects of the altitude (6,200’) in Colorado.
“Even though I came the first time (to the mini-camp), I didn’t expect to be winded by the thin air again,” Johnson said. “From a drills standpoint, I’ve gotten a lot better coming off screens, ball handling, my decisions in the game, knowing my teammates better. It’s been overall good for me as a player.”
The best is hopefully yet to come, but for now, Johnson is enjoying the experience.
“The best part has been the time in the dorms,” he said. “It’s just us around each other. We cause a lot of chemistry, and it’s just fun to be with these guys.”
Showtime, as Johnson is often referred to as, seems to be fitting in just fine, as he was named by his teammates as a player with one of the biggest personalities.
“I just think logically about everything, really,” he said. “I kind of make sense of everything, which can be funny. It’s fun being around them. We all make jokes about ourselves, and I just amplify it.”
As for the nickname, Johnson said it started in high school and stuck.
“One of my friends picked it for me and it kind of stuck. My coach put it the back of my warm up and everyone started calling me Showtime.”
Like any rising athlete, Johnson hopes for an illustrious career, both with USA Basketball and throughout his high school and college careers. He is looking to study sports medicine or business marketing in school, and sees coaching as a future option. Once he hangs up his laces for good, though, Johnson hopes to do nothing but relax.
“I don’t want to be stressed to do anything,” he said. “I want to live on a beach. I like the Newport Beach a lot. I like the beach area, I like being in the sand. I’m from California; it’s my thing.”
For now, though, Johnson is focused on winning gold next week in Cancun.
“Living on the beach can wait,” he said. “For now, we’ve got some games to win.”