After being cancelled last year due to the pandemic, the 2021 Nike Peach Jam tournament returned this summer and Vegas Elite (NV) got a nice tune-up session via the Tip of the Hat Hoops’ Las Vegas Basketball Royalty showcase at Bishop Gorman High School. Pro Insight was on hand to evaluate the event and caught up with Dior Johnson of Vegas Elite (NV). Johnson was a standout during the weekend and led his team to a 4-0 record including wins over EYBL’s Team WhyNot (CA) and UPLAY (Canada). A recent Oregon commit, the 6’3 guard brings leadership, scoring prowess, and unselfish facilitating skills to a roster.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Johnson talked about how he tries to impact winning, players he would like to team up with at Oregon, how the Ducks stood out in his recruitment, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present Oregon commit Dior Johnson, from Kingston, New York:
Pro Insight: This weekend at the Las Vegas Basketball Royalty, how have you felt on the court?
Dior Johnson: Oh, it's been great. I've been feeling great. I feel like I'm more back in the rhythm. We got some new faces on the team, so it was good to get some run in before Peach Jam. I mean, we had four days of good practices, two practices a day so we're just getting in the rhythm of things. Like I said, a lot of new faces, so how we played yesterday was a great start.
PI: Ahead of Peach Jam, do you have a specific focus or things you are looking to improve on skills-wise?
DJ: The most important thing I'm looking at Peach Jam to do is win. I'm trying to win whether that takes me scoring 10 points or 30 points, leading my teammates, giving everybody the confidence they need to do their thing and just win — win big.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, describe your strengths and playstyle.
DJ: I look to lead and give others the ball, make plays for others. I'm a point guard, but I got a natural gift for scoring, so I can score when I need to, but kind of just be a real point guard out there and try and win the game.
PI: Talk a bit about your background. How did you get into basketball?
DJ: I played football. I was a football player. I stopped playing football after freshman year, but I started playing basketball when I was like three years old. I’ve played basketball my whole life. I'm not going to sit here and lie to you. I was gifted with a special talent, like before people knew me. I’ve always been good, played varsity [in] seventh grade, averaged a lot of points. I’ve always been talented. I took that to the court, to the gym and put the extra time in, and that got me even better.
PI: Any athletes run in the family?
DJ: So my uncles were all basketball players. One of my uncles actually played overseas — he was a 6’6 shooting guard. So hopefully I'll get to 6’4.
PI: How would you define your position?
DJ: I'm a true point guard, but I don't mind going to the two, as long as that point guard knows what they're doing. I don't mind it at all. I'm a team player, so whatever works, we can do it.
PI: What are your interests off the court?
DJ: I like to chill, kick back, mind my business. I really stay out of the way. I don't mingle with too many people. I kind of just like to work and live life with my loved ones.
PI: Congratulations on committing to Oregon. What stood out about the Ducks?
DJ: The coaching staff — I really love the coaching staff. They embraced me from day one and made me feel comfortable. My visit went great. We were on the same page. Yeah, out of everybody that recruited me, I liked them the most.
PI: With the NIL officially in effect as of July 1, 2021, have you given thought about what you might be interested in?
DJ: I'm not going to lie, I haven't looked into it yet because they haven't come out with the exact rules and regulations to it, but I already know like, ‘yeah, I'm going to make money when I get there,’ but I'm not trying to think about it. I'm just trying to make it fall in place. So I got my logo done, getting my LLC, just everything, making sure I'm prepared for that time.
PI: Who would you like to play with at the college level?
DJ: I’m trying to get A.J. Storr to come [to Oregon]. I've been talking to him. I love playing with him. I love setting him up. We’ve played well together. We’ve shown that on the EYBL circuit. After I play this game, I'm after Shaedon Sharpe.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
DJ: Gritty. Tough. Winner. Leader.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
DJ: A cool guy — like a guy that was, you know, a big time guy, but cool. Like we get in the room just me and you, you wouldn't even know who I am.