Bulls' James Johnson Admits to Being Distracted at Wake Forest
Johnson was the 16th pick of the Chicago Bulls and tallied 16 points in the Bulls' 87-72 summer league loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday. Johnson, who left Wake Forest following his sophomore season, is prepared for his next challenge, but he can't help but look back to his days at Winston-Salem, N.C.
The one-time top-ranked Demon Deacons limped into the NCAA Tournament and were soundly beaten by Cleveland State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, a crushing end to a sparkling season. Johnson admitted that he and some of his teammates may have been looking ahead to their NBA Draft prospects.
"We were great man," Johnson said of his Wake Forest team. "Fame just took us all by storm. We were a young team, no seasoning. But what happened is we crumbled. We were a great team and then we crumbled. Cleveland State played a great basketball game and deserved that win."
Johnson averaged nearly nine rebounds per game last season at Wake Forest, but he is more of a hybrid small forward with an improving perimeter game. He entered the 2008-09 college season as an unknown, and it didn't help that his hometown is Cheyenne, Wyo.
"I like where I'm at," he said. "I'm not worried about who sees me and who doesn't. It's about basketball for me and the love of the game. It's good not to sign 100 autographs when I'm walking into these places. I love just going up to my room and being a regular dude. That's what I want to be no matter how much fame I get or don't get."