A dual citizen of the U.S. and Jamaica, class of 2023 top-30 recruit London Johnson had the opportunity to suit up for Jamaica at the 2021 FIBA Centrobasket U17 Championship in Mexicali, Mexico earlier this month. An elite floor general who possesses translatable tools and skillset at the next level, Johnson earned all-tournament team honors while averaging a tournament-high 36.0 points per game, along with 9.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists on 57.8 FG%, 46.7 3P%, and 87.5 FT% shooting splits. Nearing a college decision, the 6’4” guard will choose from a top-6 list consisting of Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, USC, and Clemson.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Johnson talked about his experience with the Jamaican National Team, his upcoming college decision, his musical talents, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2023 prospect London Johnson, from Atlanta, Georgia:
Pro Insight: How did you get to where you are today?
London Johnson: Really, since I was a young kid, my family and I have been moving around. I’ve lived in seven different states at the moment. And that's really just been up to my parents. Then moving around, I got to meet different people. And ever since I was around five, I've been playing basketball, so I've been just growing up playing basketball in different states and getting better at different styles of play as I've been moving.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
LJ: My dad played at Cincinnati State when he played. Then he got injured, so that’s when he’s career ended.
PI: As you’ve said, your family has moved a lot — can you talk about the recent move from North Carolina to Georgia?
LJ: I’d say it has its ups and downs. I kind of like Georgia better, it’s like a double Charlotte. So everything is doubled here and then I moved during COVID, so it was hard at the start to get in the gym but when I moved to Atlanta, it was way easier — all the gyms are mainly open.
PI: How did the opportunity come about to attend and play at Norcross (GA)?
LJ: Really, my old coach for Team United, they used to be a EYBL team, his name is Nick Johnson. He connected me with Jordan Goldwire and with his dad. And then we're narrowing down our schools and we had McEachern (GA), Pace Academy (GA), and Norcross (GA), and we ended up picking Norcross because they didn't really have a main player there. I know at Pace they had Matthew Cleveland and at McEachern, they had Cam McDowell and a kid that went to Arkansas. So Norcross seemed like the best fit for me.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
LJ: I played baseball and football a little bit when I was younger, but as I just started to move around a lot, I kind of just stuck with one sport.
PI: What are your current measurements?
LJ: I'm 6’4”, weigh 175 pounds and I'm pretty sure my wingspan is like 6’6”.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths and what’s your play style?
LJ: Really, my greatest strength is the way I read the ball screen — that's the main reason I got recruited to go to college is the way I read the ball game and I can score and also get my teammates involved. I'll say I’m a floor general. And then my play style — it's kind of similar to Chris Paul, I’d say.
PI: Besides CP3, who do you model your game after and try to study on film?
LJ: I like to watch Steph Curry a lot. He's a very exciting player. He shoots some crazy shots and makes it more entertaining to watch, as well. I feel like he shoots the ball very well, and he gets his teammates involved also similar to what I can do on the court.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?
LJ: Really, the main thing has been getting in the weight room, getting more athletic, getting stronger, and also extending my range to shooting further and further away from the basket. And then, also, contact finishing.
PI: Do you have a training regimen? Who do you train with?
LJ: Yeah, I'm not sure. Have you heard of James May? Right now, I'm pretty sure he's with the Brooklyn Nets. He's a skills development coach over there. When he's not in the league or coaching somewhere, he's back in Atlanta — that's who I work out with sometimes. For shooting, we start close, have to make 50 in a row form shots and I back up a step, and each time I back up I have to make… it goes 50, 25, 15, 10 and then five threes all in a row. I do that usually without jumping, as I make my way back. That's like my warmup.
PI: What are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player?
LJ: The main goal I’d say is hopefully we can win a state championship.
PI: Talk about your experience with the Jamaican National Team. How did this opportunity come about?
LJ: The main reason it came about…I had got my dual citizenship, so I'm a citizen of Jamaica and the U.S., and the Jamaican National Team coach had reached out to my family. And they thought it was a good idea for me to go play for the country, so that's really how it came about.
PI: Which of your family members has Jamaican ties?
LJ: It's really all on my mom's side. She was born in Montego Bay. And then on my mom’s [side], she has two sisters and they're born in Kingston, as well. So everybody from their family is Jamaican and then most of them made their way down to Houston, Texas, but I still have a bunch of family throughout Montego Bay and Kingston.
PI: What was the main takeaway competing at the FIBA level?
LJ: Oh really, it was just getting to play against different styles of play and learning new things while I was out there. It was kind of different playing basketball and then the other team is speaking a different language, calling plays and stuff like that. It was pretty cool and then I also played against some really good players…I'm pretty sure there's this kid on Mexico, he's a pro in Spain. So he kinda reminded me of Luka Doncic. He had that kind of feel and pace of the game. I felt like that was cool to get to play against different players and players who are already considered a pro.
PI: What is your timeline for a decision?
LJ: I should commit by New Year's, I’m thinking.
PI: Out of your list, who have you been hearing from the most, lately?
LJ: The main schools that have been reaching out the most are Virginia, Clemson, Alabama, USC, and Georgia.
PI: What will ultimately be your deciding factors when making your choice?
LJ: Really, my main goal is to get to the NBA, so in the colleges I'm looking to see what's the style of play, if that's my style of play to help me strive and look good in college so I can make it to the NBA.
PI: There are a lot more post-grad options available these days with G League Ignite, OTE, and NBL, among others. Have you and your family done much research into those opportunities?
LJ: A little bit, some of [these] programs have reached out to me, but we haven't really taken much look into it. I don't really think that's a decision or route I want to take.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
LJ: Really just hanging with friends and family. We like to watch movies a lot and then I also used to play the saxophone a little bit.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
LJ: Really, I’d probably say Beethoven. And I like jazz music.
PI: Guys aren't typically getting hyped on Beethoven pregame right?
LJ: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah (laughs), I'm really into Gunna and Drake.
PI: If you were stuck forever on a deserted island and had all the food, water, and shelter you needed — what three personal items would you bring?
LJ: I’d bring my dad. I can bring anything?
PI: Yeah, basketball, people, your phone…
LJ: I’d probably bring my dad and a boat or something. Is that something I can bring?
PI: Yeah, totally — and one more thing?
LJ: Probably, like a chicken farm or cow farm or something so I can produce.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
LJ: #chill probably.
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
LJ: I think I would just play the saxophone for fun. Really, I’d just take the time to keep my grades as high as possible and then try to go to college and major and I’d probably end up being a pre-med major. That's something similar to my mom and then end up working there.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
LJ: “A wise man once said nothing at all,” so really just learning to listen, you know, you don’t always gotta talk.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
LJ: Mainly my dad, I’d say.
PI: What lessons has he taught you?
LJ: Really we talk about basketball the most times we talk, but he also teaches me life lessons to go throughout off the court and on the court, whether it's with females or money, how to handle money and stuff like that.
PI: What is your biggest pet peeve?
LJ: Probably smacking. I hate when people smack when they eat. Smacking like when they make noise with their mouth when they eat.
PI: Where do you see yourself in five years?
LJ: Hopefully in the NBA.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
LJ: Chill, laid-back. energetic, and positive.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
LJ: Really the main thing is just teaching people on and off the court to be a leader, and then being a great basketball player.