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Johnson back in business for SK
Recruiting is generally a specialty left for college coaches.
But when post Nick Johnson didnt try out for the Wolves basketball team last season, coach John Callaghan gave his best sales pitch.
He came to my house for an hour and tried to talk me into playing, Johnson said. It was hard to say no to him like that.
Johnson said his family was dealing with personal issues he declined to discuss them in detail at the time, and said he couldnt return until they were addressed. He said it wasnt easy to miss a season, especially a successful one. The Wolves won the Narrows League Bridge Division with an 11-3 record and finished 16-7 overall last season.
Once the season got going, it was pretty hard, Johnson said. I still went to the games and watched them play and wanted to be out there.
If stuff wasnt going on, I definitely wouldve played.
He said Callaghan approached him about tryouts again after the season. Johnson gave a simple yeah to the comeback offer.
I told him he was welcome back anytime, Callaghan said. The whole odyssey begins right after spring break and hes been right there. Im really glad he came back.
With five seniors graduated from last seasons team, it didnt take long for Johnson to integrate. The 6-foot-6 senior scored a team-high 15 points to lead the Wolves to a 70-46 win in their Nov. 27 season-opener at Tyee.
It wasnt really that hard, he said, adding that his teammates embraced him upon his return. I already knew the offense and knew all the guys because were all young.
And on a team that has struggled with consistency South had a 4-4 record after Fridays 67-59 loss against Skyline Johnsons production rarely changes.
Up to this point, I think hes averaged a double-double (at least 10 points and 10 rebounds) for us, so hes been huge, Callaghan said.
As are the expectations around post players at South. Four years ago, the presence of Adam Bennett and Jake Beitinger inside helped the Wolves to a second-place finish in the Class 4A state tournament. It was their best performance since winning the championship in 1950, and Johnson said its a tough precedent to follow.
Its hard because they were so dominant, he said. Its difficult to fill those shoes because Im not as vocal and upbeat as they are. Im more of a quiet leader.
That doesnt seem to bother Callaghan.
He has kind of a calming effect on the rest of the guys around him, he said. He doesnt really get rattled.
Perhaps thats because Johnson knows about challenges. In the spring, he serves as the Wolves goalkeeper for the soccer team.
With a 6-8 wingspan providing a huge advantage, he may be the tallest goalkeeper the state.
But saving goals is more of a way to pass time than a pastime for him. He hopes to play college basketball and is looking locally, especially at community colleges. Johnson, who wants to become an architect, said hes received information from Pierce College, but wants to concentrate on the season before he looks forward.
That means further collaboration with his teammates and utilizing the opportunities that come when Collin Monagle is double-teamed in the post.
I can step out and hit a shot every once in awhile, Johnson said. Thats my game thats what I like to do.