Photo courtesy of Dior Johnson.
By David Cordova
Middle school basketball is on the rise and it has shown over the last ten or so years. There are camps and tournaments filled with talented players that lead people to ask, “Who’s the next one?” Some of these young athletes are exceptionally talented, that they are even good enough to play on varsity high school programs, if allowed.
Such is the case for Dior Johnson. The 6-foot-1 point guard from upstate New York is one of the premier players in the Class of 2022. He is a player that has good passing ability and can also shoot from long distance, as well as get other players involved.
When asked what makes want to be successful on the court, he replied, “Seeing other people work hard and motivational videos actually do it. I watch a lot of Derrick Rose videos from when he was hurt. I do that all night as my homework and stuff like that, so i just really study the game and take it from there.”
Johnson hails from Kingston, New York, a town located in Ulster County that is between Albany and New York City. It is also the town that produced former Monmouth University guard Justin Robinson, who is now playing professionally in Russia.
When asked about the basketball scene in Kingston, Johnson says, “Nobody really knows Kingston, New York like that. I’m actually one of the first to make Kingston, New York known [for basketball], so I’m proud of that, and we had a lot of guys that took different routes that they chose to take, but it’s a very small town, but it’s like a city.”
As far as strengths and weaknesses in his game, he replied, “My strengths are my body control, my three-point shooting, getting to the basket, I really gotta work on my left hand and being crafty with my left hand.”
For the last two years, Johnson has been playing on the varsity squad at Saugerties High School in Saugerties, New York, a town even smaller than Kingston. This season, he scored 31.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.1 assists per game and led the Sawyers to a 12-9 record an appearance in the Section 9 Class A title game. In his short time at Saugerties, he also reached the 1,000-point milestone. He currently has 1,098 points, as of the end of this past season and had two games in which he scored more than 40 points.
“I thought it was something I had to do,” said Johnson about breaking the 1,000-point milestone at Saugerties, “I had no choice because I play basketball, you’re supposed to break records and do things like that. I wasn’t too wild, but I expected it to happen.”
Now that he is a seasoned veteran on the varsity level, it gives him an advantage over many of his peers in his class, most of whom are playing at regular middle school programs. On that subject, Johnson added: “Yes, it should [give him an advantage] because, I know what it’s like to be on that stage and make the right decisions and what not to do from playing with stronger, bigger and smarter guys than me, mentally and physically. Skill-wise, you may have the skills, but a lot of other things come with having skills.”
This fall, Johnson has chosen to attend Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida, a prestigious basketball powerhouse which boasted the No. 1 program in the USA Today poll last season and went 35-0 and won a national championship.
When asked about his decision to play at Montverde, he replied, “It’s a great place there, Coach [Kevin] Boyle, Coach Rae [Miller], they’re going to make me work, I’m going to have to strive for everything I want, and all the guys are going to battle with me, so when I’m older and in tenth grade and stuff, I’m going to be unstoppable. I had [older] kids pushing me when I was a [little] kid.”
And right now, Johnson has garnered the attention of schools such as Memphis, Ole Miss, Hofstra, NJIT, Western Kentucky, Stony Brook, Georgia Tech, TCU, Bryant and Buffalo, to name a few.
In the next few years, as Johnson continues to grow as a player, he will continue to attain more and more offers. The best part is that he will also learn from the tutelage of a legendary coach in Kevin Boyle, Sr., who has won multiple Naismith Coach of the Year Awards, and has sent more than ten players to the NBA and countless other players to play professionally overseas.
What can we expect from Dior Johnson in high school? “A great four years, and then on to the next thing, but being a leader, doing a lot of things people haven’t seen, I’m looking forward to doing it and shocking the world.”
Highlights of Dior Johnson:
Courtesy of MADE Hoops.
Courtesy of New Recruit Media, LLC.
Courtesy of Future150.com.
Courtesy of New Recruit Media, LLC.
Courtesy of Hudson Valley News Network.