Competing at the Varsity level can be rigorous, especially for a freshman. Sophomore guard Christian Johnson had to get his footing in Varsity quickly, during his first year in high school. While aiding the View Park Knights boys’ basketball to a state championship, Johnson earned freshmen All-State First Team honors.
Tournament games early in the season helped him get acclimated to varsity-level basketball.
“[My] first game with View Park, I really wasn’t all that prepared,” Johnson said. “During the process, playing more games during tournament play … there’s a lot of good point guards I had to go against so that really helped me prepare.”
Johnson had a 4.0 GPA, his favorite class is math. As a freshman, he was taking Algebra 1.
“That’s the class that I learned the most in,” Johnson said. “The teacher really takes her time to teach the lesson.”
Balancing basketball with his studies is nothing new to Johnson. As a high school student, he works with his teachers to find ways to excel in class.
“The teachers are real cool with me,” he said. “Sometimes they might give me the homework a little earlier and I’ll finish it in class and give it back so I don’t have that much to do after practice when I get home late.”
The varsity squad embraced him shortly after he made the team. The upperclassmen taught him how to be aggressive and how to persevere through challenges. Johnson coming in helped his former teammate Shamar Lair, allowing Lair to score more points.
“He was more of a scorer,” Johnson said. “I was able to get him off the ball, then he helped me learn scoring-wise.”
The best lessons last season came from tough circumstances for the guard, the Knights 62-67 loss to University high school in the division I City Section Semifinals was a major key to their successful state title-run. Soon after the loss, the team was informed that they were to compete in the state championship tournament.
“They told us we have another chance to win state, everybody was mentally prepared,” Johnson said. “They didn’t want to have that feeling no more.”
Johnson’s sister and father also played basketball. Seeing them play influenced him to pursue the sport.
Other than winning the state championship, highlights of Johnson’s first varsity season was defeating the Crenshaw Cougars 60-57 and bonding with his teammates during a tournament trip in Palm Springs.
“We didn’t win so many games in Palm Springs,” he said. “It was a cool time to get out there, just to hang out with the teammates after the games and be able to walk around and see stuff with them.”