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    Wesley Johnson to play ball in Australia

    Johnson Ready To Go Down Under - CYCLONES.com

    AMES, Iowa- Iowa State sophomore Wesley Johnson wasted little time in making an important decision in the offseason. When asked to play on an All-Star tour of Australia with Athletes In Action (AIA), Johnson quickly jumped on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    “I’m very excited about playing on this team,” Johnson said. “I’ve never been to Australia. I’m not thinking that it’s going to be a vacation. I am looking at it as a chance to work on my game while I’m over there. I am looking forward to playing with people from Australia and seeing what their game is like and bringing it back over to the Big 12.”

    Johnson’s incredible rookie season in 2006-07 without a doubt earned him the chance to be on this trip. Johnson posted outstanding numbers for a Big 12 yearling, averaging 12.3 points and 7.9 rebounds. Johnson, who hails from Corsicana, Texas, ranked second in the Big 12 in double-doubles (11). He will no longer be overlooked on an opponent’s scouting report.

    “Coach McDermott is talking to me about going back out to the wing more,” Johnson said. “I have been working on my perimeter game. I have been shooting more and working on taking people off the dribble and creating my own shot. Coach has also been stressing how important it is for me to take it to the hole and drawing a foul. It’s all about me being more aggressive, a lot more aggressive than I was last year.”

    The AIA has been sponsoring basketball teams and tours for over 40 years while “building spiritual movements everywhere through the platform of sport.” Johnson and his 10 teammates will train at the AIA headquarters (Xenia, Ohio) from Aug. 5-8 before heading to Sydney on Aug. 9. The squad will play 6-8 games against Australia’s NBL professional teams for two weeks before returning home on Aug. 23. Johnson will be joined on the tour by two other Big 12 players. Jay-R Strowbridge from Nebraska and Josh Carter from Texas A&M are also on the roster. Like Johnson, Carter is also from the Dallas area.

    Even though Johnson is only a sophomore, he has been instantly pushed into the role of a savvy veteran on the young Cyclone team. Johnson is one of three starters returning for ISU next season. He knows the importance of guiding the eight newcomers when the season begins and he likes what he has seen out of them this summer.

    “It’s been great having them (the newcomers) here all summer,” Johnson said. “Last year we didn’t really have anybody help guide us since we were all new or learning a different system. Now they have someone to look up to with myself, Rahshon (Clark) and Jiri (Hubalek). But talent wise, they’re just incredible. All of the guards and forwards we have coming in, they’re going to have a big impact on the game. I’m just ready to play and they are too. We just tell them to watch us and listen to Coach Mac and everything will be alright.”



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    Re: Wesley Johnson to play ball in Australia

    Does this fall under (much like the NBA guys going to represent their countries in the Olympics, etc.) the we'll support him in all his endeavors but keep our fingers crossed he doesn't get hurt?!?

    Anyway, sounds like a great opportunity for a great young ballplayer and individual.



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    Re: Wesley Johnson to play ball in Australia

    Yeah, pretty much this is a great trip for Wesley but a "please god don't get injured" trip as well.




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    Re: Wesley Johnson to play ball in Australia

    Games on internet like cst?


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    Re: Wesley Johnson to play ball in Australia

    It's nice to see him getting some pub but Wesley needs to stay here all four years, I demand it:) Of course I'm joking as we've had several players in the past that we thought would be good in the NBA but haven't quite panned out.

    Here's to hoping Wesley has fun and learns some extra tricks to bring back to the states.


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    Re: Wesley Johnson to play ball in Australia

    I see in the interview where Wesley says he is working on his perimeter game, working on dribble penetration and creating his own shot. That is something we will really need from him next year with Taylor gone.



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    Re: Wesley Johnson to play ball in Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    It's nice to see him getting some pub but Wesley needs to stay here all four years, I demand it:) Of course I'm joking as we've had several players in the past that we thought would be good in the NBA but haven't quite panned out.
    While I completely agree with you, how many of those guys that we thought would be NBA material acutally stayed here for all four years? Stinson, Blalock and Fizer are the only bust I can think of and they all left early.

    Maybe that should be a sign to Wesley, stay all four years otherwise it's not a good choice.



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    Re: Wesley Johnson to play ball in Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by rworkman83 View Post
    While I completely agree with you, how many of those guys that we thought would be NBA material acutally stayed here for all four years? Stinson, Blalock and Fizer are the only bust I can think of and they all left early.

    Maybe that should be a sign to Wesley, stay all four years otherwise it's not a good choice.
    I don't know why people rag on those three for leaving early. Blalock was the last pick in a draft that was one of the weakest draft classes in years - there was no way he was getting drafted. Stinson had reached his peak of development at the college game, look at his stats they are almost identical for the 3 years he was here.

    Hell, Fizer was the 4th pick in a draft and had every opportunity to succeed, it wouldn't have mattered if he had stayed. We all would have liked them to stay 4 years but they didn't have anything to gain personally from returning here.




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    Re: Wesley Johnson to play ball in Australia

    As good as he is, we're still a long way from any of those scenarios with WJ. We could point and counterpoint all day with those guys, but the reality is that it's really a case-by-case and individual decision. We really have no idea what their daily thoughts are on the matter. If a guy feels like it's time to move on and his heart and head aren't still at ISU, who are we to say they should be still be here. Of course the coaches/peers should remind a player the probabilities that come with those decisions, but eventually it still is the player's choice.

    I think moving him to the wing will not only help us in the scoring department, the depth chart, etc. here next year, but it'll also be his natural position in the NBA (assuming things keep going well and he keeps improving). All parties benefit and I think it's a good move by GMAC.



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