Pro Athlete 360 sits down to talk with Professional Basketball player Jermaine Johnson to get his take on an array of subjects. In this segment, Jermaine goes over the differences that one can expect going from high school to college ball, as well as those people looking into prep school as a viable option. Johnson, who is from Los Angeles, went from public high school in California and then to a New England Prep School before earning a Division One Scholarship. Jermaine will explain why these two levels of basketball and academics are not the same, and how these two options can prepare you for college. Furthermore, Johnson will go over his personal experiences playing college ball and give an in depth look into the life of a serious collegiate basketball player. There are some big differences both in coaching, obligations, academics, travel, competition, expectations, work ethic, and much more. Only here will you get the real inside scoop as Johnson tells all and explains the good and the bad and what one can expect on their journey to reaching the upper ranks of amateur basketball.
Basketball Video Transcription: Really, there’s a big difference between high school, prep school, and then college. Prep school, if you go from a public school to a prep school, the prep school prepares you for college in the athletic way AND in the academic way. I mean my private school was more difficult academically than college was for me and when I got to college, your life is basketball. It’s basketball and school, basketball and school, there’s nothing else. Once I get there it was “hey you got practice 6 AM, you got class, and then after that you got practice.” It’s a business there, college basketball is a multi-million dollar business, so “if you’re not getting it done, I’m going to bring someone else in who is going to do it,” or “if you’re not going to do what I thought you were going to do, you need to transfer and get out of here so I can get somebody else, so I can free up a scholarship,” or “hey you don’t want to get the right attitude, I’m going to sit you on the bench and bring somebody else who’s going to do it.” So there are a lot of people waiting in line behind you to take your place. Everyday in practice is competition, everyone is trying to beat you up, and everybody is trying to do the best they can to get their shot. Everybody wants to make a way from them to become a professional athlete, so it’s competition every single day, and you have to bring it every single day. I mean I kind of relaxed towards the end of my senior season of high school, because it was like “I already got my scholarship, I’m just chilling, I’m already one of the top players in the country, I really don’t have to do anything.” College, you had to do your thing, because every year, they were trying to bring someone in who was going to replace you. They keep recruiting, they go on recruiting trips to see if this player is going to be better than this player, “can I bring him in next year and make him out work the senior guy?” And if you’re a senior and you lose your spot to a freshman, you’ll never play again for the rest of the season. That freshman, he’s got 4 years to go, so you’ve got to bring it every single day, it’s a work thing.
If you’re not putting up extra time in your off time, you’re not doing enough. Just expect a lot of morning practices, getting up early before class, before the sun comes up, go run, do something like that, you got to get up for that. A lot of individual workouts, about an hour each, with just you or sometimes with you and two other players. The practices are about 3 hours long each, each day 3 hours. You get about one day off, one day off a week, and that is probably the game day, so there’s really no days off, but it’s hard work, it’s a lot of hard work and when you get in those individuals or those practices, the coaches are going to push you to the fullest extent, because if you don’t perform well, that’s their job. And if you don’t play to the best of your ability, they get fired. So that’s why I say it’s a business, if you don’t do what they expect of you, what they want you to do, they’re going to get fired, they’re going to lose their money, and that’s not what they want, so they’re going to push you and push you and push you, and you have to push yourself.
In high school, I was big, I was a lot more athletic, it was just like, catch the ball, go to the basket, and dunk it, I did a lot of that, just catching the basketball and dunking it. Every night for me it was like, “what kind of dunk am I going to do today, who am I going to dunk on today? How am I going to do this today? What type of dunk do you all want to see?” But in college, you got a lot of people that were like you, and you’re playing against a lot of guys that are bigger than you and just athletically built to destroy you. It was a lot different, so I had to learn other ways to score, different things to be more effective on the court. The style of play, there’s different systems with different colleges. Our first coach, Tom Heron, was like, anybody can basically get off, it’s just a matter of who’s hot, who’s hot at the time, basically if you’re hot, we’re going to get you off. Coach Bobby Cremins, he’s a point guard guy, so he’s going to look to get his point guard off. And if his point guard isn’t getting off, he’s going to look to his 2 guard and move his 2 guard to the point guard and move the point guard to the 2 guard and go with that and let him get off, he’s just a real point guard guy. A lot of times, if I was just showing that I was really in the zone, he’ll give me the ball a few times, “let’s post Jermaine up, give him the ball, let him go to work, let him do his thing,” because if I’m unstoppable against a team, let’s get him the ball. Or sometimes, he’ll just tell the point guard to do whatever he does, and the point guard will see that I’m hot, he’ll try to look for me down low and post up.
We were 25 points down at the half playing against Temple, we were in Puerto Rico I think, 25 points down at half time, we came back and beat them. By one point at the buzzer. Coach Cremins still says that’s one of the best games he’s ever coached. I mean that game goes down in history. They played that game over and over and over again on ESPN because that’s never happened. That right there in itself was big time. All the traveling that we did, I went to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, places like that, that was pretty nice. Me setting records, after I set those records, I’m the first and still the only “Freshman of the Year” from my school, in the conference. Playing, making friends, I just got off the phone with Stephen Curry, a few minutes ago, we’re still friends. He’s playing with Golden State, and we’re still cool. Just goofing around with the guys. You make lifelong friends in college, so just goofing around with the team. I mean I have friends now that I’ve known for 7 years, 8 years, and that’s just in college, it’s crazy. Just the locker room stories and going on trips, stuff like that is just memorable, and I feel like college just went by way to fast, because if I could I would go back and just enjoy myself, because I miss college, I miss it big time.
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