Daniel Johnson (basketball)

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Daniel Johnson
No. 21 – Wellington Saints
Position Centre / Power forward
League NZNBL
Personal information
Born (1988-04-03) 3 April 1988 (age 27)
Carnarvon, Western Australia
Nationality Australian
Listed height 212 cm (6 ft 11 in)
Listed weight 108 kg (238 lb)
Career information
High school Willetton Senior
(Perth, Western Australia)
College Pepperdine (2007–2008)
NBA draft 2008 / Undrafted
Pro career 2008–present
Career history
2008–2010 Melbourne Tigers
2010–2014 Adelaide 36ers
2014 Piratas de Quebradillas
2014–2015 Stelmet Zielona Góra
2015–present Adelaide 36ers
2015–present Wellington Saints
Career highlights and awards

Daniel Johnson (born 3 April 1988) is an Australian professional basketball player who currently plays for the Wellington Saints of the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL). The three-time 36ers MVP (2012–2014) and an All-NBL first team honouree in 2013–14, Johnson has previously played in Puerto Rico and Poland.

Standing 6'11½" (212 cm) tall and weighing 108 kg (238 lb), Johnson's primary position is centre, but with a strong mid and long range shooting ability, he is equally effective at playing power forward.

Junior career[edit]

Born in Carnarvon[1] (located approximately 900 km north of Perth) to Craig and Carolyn Johnson, Johnson has three siblings, Josh, Courtnee and Jess, and attended Willetton Senior High School in Perth, graduating in 2005. He also played basketball for the Willetton Tigers in the State Basketball League. From there he accepted a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport, and while at the AIS helped his team win the King Club International Cup and was named the tournament MVP averaging 22 points per game. While attending the AIS he also represented Australia at the 2007 FIBA Under-19 World Championship in Serbia helping the Emus to 5th place overall with an 8-1 tournament record averaging 3.9 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.[1]

At the 2007 Under 20 Nationals, Johnson averaged 24.3 points and 12.8 rebounds per game and was named in the Tournament All-Star Five team. Johnson was the tournament's second highest scorer behind future NBA player and Boomers star Patty Mills.

College career[edit]

In 2007, Johnson moved to the United States to attend Pepperdine University and play college basketball. In 2007–08, he played 21 games, averaging 9.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game for the Waves.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Melbourne Tigers[edit]

Johnson returned to Australia in 2008 and signed with the Melbourne Tigers as their "Young Australian Player" for the 2008–09 NBL season. He played 48 games over two seasons for the Tigers as backup centre behind team captain, 7'0" (213 cm) Chris Anstey. He averaged 7.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 0.4 blocks per game in limited court time with the Tigers and missed out on an NBL championship in 2009 when the Tigers went down three games to two in the grand finals series against cross-town rivals the South Dragons. During his time with the Tigers, he also played for their junior team in the Big V.

Adelaide 36ers[edit]

Following the 2009–10 season which saw the Tigers fall to 6th place on the ladder and miss the playoffs, the out of contract Johnson was recruited to the Adelaide 36ers by their new coach (and former head coach of the AIS) Marty Clarke to be the team's backup centre. Before joining the 36ers, Johnson returned home to Perth where he helped the Willetton Tigers win the 2010 SBL championship.

Johnson played all 28 games for the 36ers in the 2010–11 NBL season and averaged 9.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. In the first 25 games of the 2010–11 season, Johnson had no starts and averaged 8.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, despite many fans feeling the team would have been better served with Johnson at starting centre and 6'9" (205 cm) team captain Adam Ballinger in his more natural position of Power forward. Early in the third last game of the season against the Melbourne Tigers at home, Ballinger suffered an ankle injury that would keep him sidelined for the rest of the season. Johnson came on as his replacement and played the rest of the game, scoring a career high 31 points and 13 rebounds in a dominating performance, though it wasn't enough as a Bennie Lewis 3 pointer on the buzzer gave the Tigers a 79-76 win. Johnson started the last two games of the season, averaging 23.3 points and 12 rebounds per game over the last three games. He went on finished runner-up in the 36ers club MVP voting for the season behind Ballinger.

With Ballinger still suffering the effects of his ankle injury, Johnson became the 36ers first choice centre in the 2011–12 NBL season, though the team started with three straight losses. Both Johnson and Adelaide came good in Round 4 with a 100-92 win over the Perth Wildcats. Johnson top scored with 22 pts at 75% shooting, grabbed 6 rebounds and had 1 block and 1 steal in 31 minutes. For his effort in leading the previously winless 36ers to victory over the previously unbeaten Wildcats, Johnson was named the NBL player of the week, the first 36er to win the award since Adam Ballinger in December 2009.[3]

At the end of the 2011–12 season, Johnson averaged 16.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.0 blocks in 30.8 minutes per game, numbers being almost double his career averages in every category. On 26 March 2012, he was named the NBL's Most Improved Player for the season and was also selected to the All-NBL Third Team. The next night he went on to win the Adelaide 36ers MVP Award (the Mark Davis Trophy) as well as the team's Most Improved and Players' Player awards.[4] Johnson became the fourth 36ers player to win the NBL's Most Improved Player following Mark Bradtke (1988), Scott Ninnis (1993) and Chris Blakemore (1994).

On 28 March 2012, the Adelaide 36ers announced that they had signed Johnson to a 3-year contract making him a 36er until the end of the 2014–15 season.[4]

Following the off-season signing of former 36ers player, 7'1" (216 cm) South Australian Luke Schenscher, Johnson moved primarily to power forward allowing him to utilise his outside game more (Johnson hit 17 of 45 three-point shots in 2011–12, leading the team in 3pt percentage with 37.8%) and giving the team its own version of the 'Twin Towers' for the 2012–13 NBL season.[5]

On 6 December 2012, due to an injury to Perth Wildcats centre Matthew Knight, Johnson was selected as the starting centre for the South All-Stars in the 2012 NBL All-Star Game, which was played for the first time since 2007–08. Johnson joined 36ers team mates Adam Gibson, Jason Cadee and Stephen Weigh (selected to the South Stars bench) in the game which was played at the Adelaide Arena on 22 December. Johnson was the second highest scorer in the game with 21 points, while also grabbing 4 rebounds in helping the South to a 134-114 win over the North All-Stars.

A mid-season injury which sidelined Schenscher saw Johnson moved to centre for the 36ers and he became the NBL's leading rebounder in 2012–13 averaging 8.1 per game. He was 5th in the league in scoring with 16.2 per game and was rewarded for his efforts by being selected to the All-NBL Second Team.

On 28 March 2013, Johnson won his second straight Mark Davis Trophy as the Adelaide 36ers MVP for the 2012–13 season.

Johnson's improvement continued in 2013–14. With Schenscher still on the comeback after his back injury and now in a bench role, Johnson again led the 36ers in scoring with 19.6 points per game and rebounding with 7.0 per game, while his defence, which has always been seen as his weak point, also improved under new coach Joey Wright. This saw Johnson selected to his first All-NBL First team as a power forward after being in the All third team in 2011–12 and the All second team in 2012–13. Johnson was a major contributor to Adelaide's rise from the bottom of the NBL ladder to second at the end of the 2013–14 regular season, culminating in the club's first Grand Final appearance since the 2001–02 season. He went on to win his third straight Mark Davis Trophy as the 36ers' MVP for the 2013–14 season.[6]

In 166 NBL games, Johnson averaged 19.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.[7]

Puerto Rico[edit]

On 7 April 2014, Johnson signed with Piratas de Quebradillas of Puerto Rico for the 2014 BSN season.[8] On June 27, 2014, he parted ways with Quebradillas.[9]

Stelmet Zielona Góra[edit]

On 24 July 2014, Johnson signed a two-year deal with Stelmet Zielona Góra of the Polish Basketball League.[10][11] On 18 January 2015, he parted ways with Zielona Góra after appearing in 16 league games.[12]

Return to Adelaide[edit]

On 21 January 2015, Johnson returned to the Adelaide 36ers, re-signing with the club for the rest of the 2014–15 NBL season.[13][14] In his first game back for the 36ers two days later, he recorded 4 points, 2 assists and 1 rebound in the 89-85 win over the Wollongong Hawks.[15]

On 15 May 2015, Johnson re-signed with the 36ers on a three-year deal. That same week, he signed with the Wellington Saints for the rest of the 2015 New Zealand NBL season.[16]

International career[edit]

Johnson's form for the 36ers in winning the NBL's Most Improved Player award in 2011–12 saw him selected to the Australian Boomers training camp for the 2012 London Olympic Games, though he ultimately missed a spot on the team with the selectors and coaches (who also included his then Adelaide 36ers coach Marty Clarke as one of the Boomers assistants) preferring the more experienced Aleks Marić and David Andersen.

References[edit]

External links[edit]