Duane Johnson to be 'THE ROCK' for stingrays
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Stingrays Basketball believe they have signed one of the most athletic imports ever to play in Geelong in 6’7 Duane Johnson. With a physical build and a vertical leap similar to the legendary James Crawford, Johnson is set to thrill fans this year at home and on the road in the 2014 “State Championship” season. Johnson will arrive in Geelong with his 35.5” vertical leap on Monday and will to hit the court for his first training sessionwith his new teammates on Tuesday.
Stingrays head coach Dan Riches spoke highly of the new US star recruit, “Duane is an exceptional athlete, he’s long and he is a real competitor. We were looking for a versatile forward that can do a bit of everything and be able to defend all positions, DJ does that” said Riches.
The signing of Johnson was after an extensive search through Riches US network, “We had a shortlist of 7 guys from starting with 28” said Riches. “You need to spend a lot of time finding the type of on-court player but that’s only the start, we are after specific on-court players but we are only after high character people, that takes time and trust in your scouting network” added the coach.
[quote]Johnson was a standout in his college career at East Stroudsburg University (ESU). Johnson finished his career at ESU as a three-time All-PSAC East selection. He was part of four straight PSAC Final Four teams and three NCAA Tournament teams, helping the Warriors reach the NCAA Tournament in 2010, 2012 and 2013.[/quote]
Johnson spoke to Stingrays Basketball from the USA and wanted to let the Stingrays fans know what to expect when he arrives; “Expect a guy that's very excited for the opportunity and ready to help this team win. I bring a lot of excitement to the gym with my athleticism and enthusiasm for the game of basketball” said Johnson.
Johnson understands he arrives at the Stingrays in a campaign to defend their 2013 “State Championship” and anticipates expectations to be high, “I have always felt that no one has higher expectations for me than I have for myself so as long as I reach my expectations I feel the winning will take care of itself” said Johnson. “I have been a part of winning teams all throughout my high school and college careers so if I play the way I have been for the past years we will have a very successful team in Geelong” added Johnson.
[half]Johnson understands the Stingrays commitment to the community and promoting basketball to the youth of Greater Geelong, “I cannot wait to get out into the community of Geelong with my services to the youth and to share my basketball knowledge with them” Said Johnson.[/half]
[half]This will be Johnsons’ first time in Australia after hearing much praise for our land down under; “I have heard of the beautiful scenery in Australia and that it is a lovely place to live. I also hear a lot about the different types of animals, I am looking forward to experiencing it, having a great time…. I can't wait to arrive!” said Johnson.[/half]
[map]Geelong Netball and Basketball Centre 1 Crown Street, South Geelong VIC 3220[/map]
Johnson ranks seventh at ESU in career points (1,347), ninth in rebounds (608), fourth in steals (148), eighth in blocks (90) and second in free throws made (369). He is one of only two players in ESU school history to rank in the top 10 in both steals and blocks