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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Nick Johnson loves the kids, holds camp at Salpointe

Rebecca Sasnett

Arizona guard Nick Johnson (13) shoots a three-pointer during Arizona’s 68-59 win against Weber State during the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament at the Viejas Arena in San Diego. on Friday, March 21, 2014. Johnson holds camps for kids several times throughout the summer in Tucson and Glendale, Arizona.

Twice in the past two years, Nick Johnson has taken time out of his busy schedule to do something he loves.

Teaching young ones about the game of basketball is something the former Wildcat has had a passion for ever since he himself got involved with basketball camps.

At the Nick Johnson Basketball Camp, kids receive, along with a picture, autograph and T-shirt, hands-on teaching from Johnson and some of his basketball buddies, like former ‘Zona teammate, Kaleb Tarczewski.

“I went to camps like this when I was little, so I just know the benefit of all these camps,” Johnson said. “Even if these kids only pick up a ball one time, and it’s at my camp, it’s going to be an environment where it’s fun, and they’re going to learn a little bit—about life, about sports or whatever.”

The camp is divided into two age groups, with kids ages 6-12 and 13-18. For the little ones, it’s about learning basketball techniques, but also how to have fun and display good sportsmanship. The older kids focus more on the basketball side and developing into the best player they can be.

Johnson has had plenty of success on the court, leading Arizona to the Elite Eight his sophomore and junior years, and foregoing his final year of college eligibility to be a second-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets.

Johnson hopes that all the campers take a valuable lesson from his camps, words that he lives by.

“Trust the work you put in,” Johnson said. “If you work hard—no matter what it is in life—if you work hard in it, eventually it’s going to pay off for you.”

Johnson can be seen running around the gymnasium hosting the camp as though he is one of the young campers, but it’s not only his enthusiasm that makes Johnson such a great teacher.

“I would like to think I’m very charismatic,” laughed Johnson. “I’m always the loud one in the room, so I’d say that definitely helps me.”

Whatever it is, Johnson seems to have a knack for running these camps, and although it’s only twice a year, the lessons learned and the fun had is something that is completely invaluable for the next generation of players.

Follow Noah Auclair on Twitter

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