Basketball (M)

Patriot guard gets shot at pro basketball

            When Brandon Johnson received his bachelor’s degree from St. Catharine College in May, he became the first Patriot basketball player to complete four years at the school that was playing junior college athletics until 2008. Now, Johnson will break new ground again as the first player to garner an invitation to a pro basketball tryout.

            Johnson, a graduate of John Hardin High School, will take his talent to Las Vegas Sunday (July 15) for three days of games and workouts in front of dozens of coaches from professional teams. “I know there will be coaches from 25 countries there as well as five professional leagues in the United States including the NBA,” said Johnson.

            The former Patriot guard will be looking to showcase his talent that made him the all-time leading scorer at St. Catharine. In his four-year career Johnson scored 1,405 points. He averaged in double figures each year including his freshman season when he enjoyed his best year at 15.1 points a game.

            The 6-3 shooting guard was especially prolific from long range as he set new school records in three-point shooting in his college career. He ranked 28th nationally in the NAIA in three-point goals with 2.33 a game last year. Twice he scored 32 points in a game last season, hitting 8-13 three-pointers against Carroll College and 10-16 against Life University.

            “Brandon will do well,” said St. Catharine head coach J.T. Burton. His shot has got a lot better and he defends really well. And he plays so hard every possession.”

            While the pro tryout will be a new experience for Johnson, there is nothing new about the hard work he has put in to get ready for Las Vegas. “I have been doing a whole lot of shooting and conditioning,” he said. “We will play a lot of games each day out there and some guys come in out of shape. That won’t be a problem for me.”

            That training could land Johnson a contract even before he leaves Las Vegas. But a back-up plan is in place if he isn’t signed at the camp. “I have been contacted by an agent who I have sent game tapes to. I haven’t signed a contract with him until I see what happens next week but that is an option I will look at.”


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