It's a trait that was pitched by many at the NBA Draft Combine, as all players want to show they can do whatever it takes to land a spot on an NBA roster.
But for Stanley Johnson, it's a point he really wanted to hammer home.
“I can start a game at the 3, 2 or the 4. I can be a primary ballhandler, as well. I think that’s one of my traits: I can move all over the court, I’m comfortable at four positions on the court, I’m comfortable at a lot of positions on the court," Johnson said. "So for me, that’s ideal.
“I can switch on to four different positions, and that would be fairly simple for me. I’m a big, strong kid that can move his feet.”
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It might sound a little boastful, but Johnson has plenty to boast about. The one-and-done from Arizona made quite the name for himself playing high school ball in Southern California. He arrived in Tucson looking every bit the athletic specimen he was projected to be and checks into the NBA Draft at 6-foot-7 and 242 pounds. And his play spoke for itself, as he was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year after a spectacular season with the Pac-12 champs, a team that reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament.
And though he was surrounded by plenty of other talent on one of the country's best teams, he's trying to prove to future employers that he can do it all.
“I offer versatility," he said at the NBA Draft Combine. "I can score from all three levels pretty well. I can be a primary ballhandler in the pick and roll or any two-man game situation. And on defense I’m going to play hard, I’m going to play smart and I’m a nasty competitor. I don’t think there’s many guys out there that want to win and want to compete as much as I do, and I’ll definitely bring that to a locker room in the NBA.”
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Johnson is just 19 years old, though he's expected by many to be a top-10 pick in this month's draft. Plenty of one-and-dones have traveled a similar path, and Johnson — who clearly had little trouble with the transition from high school to college — doesn't expect any trouble with the jump to the next step, even though he'll be going from high school to college to professional basketball in just more than a year.
“High school to college was learning how to play, learning the mental game, learning the game of college basketball and letting your talent take over after that," Johnson said. "I would imagine it’d be the same thing in the NBA: learning how to play in the NBA first, the right ways to do stuff and letting your talent take over after that.”
While it might seem like a quick jump from high school to the NBA, not enough time in college for anything to really sink in, Johnson asserts that's not the case. Though he was only on campus for a few months, he said that he learned a lot from Sean Miller.
“I think we had a lot of guys. We had a mix of everything. We had older guys, younger guys, really talented guys and not-as-talented guys. We had guys that had more on the line than other people, and we had leaders on the team, as well. So that’s the main thing that happened at Arizona," Johnson said. "Arizona was probably the best year of my life. I learned a lot from Arizona, from coach Miller and his staff, the players. And the teammates are truly my brothers now. I think it taught me everything about myself, and now I can police myself, which I couldn’t say before I got to Arizona. I can really police myself. Without coach Miller being hard on me and doing what he’s supposed to do, I wouldn’t be able to do what I can today.”