Starting basketball at the age of 7, Kamani Johnson never really had a choice growing up whether or not to take the game seriously being part of a basketball family.
At 6’7 1/2″, 190 lbs., the rising junior and 2018 prospect has always been tall but not the tallest kid on his team. Now, Johnson enters his first season at Holy Spirit Prep after playing at Florida powerhouse Montverde the past two seasons.
His mom got a new job in Georgia which weighed into his decision to transfer to Holy Spirit Prep. He says it was tough, but he loves the school environment and community.
“Everyone here is nice. The administration helped me get into the swings of things and made it very easy to focus on school,” Johnson told Prep Sports Scouting. “Also, I have all the tools here to mold my game for a smooth transition to the next level of basketball.”
Greg McClaire took over the program last season and led the Cougars to a 22-4 record where they fell in the Class AAA state basketball playoffs, just a round before the Final Four.
Johnson has adjusted well to McClaire’s coaching.
“Playing under coach McClaire, he’s a New York guy just like me so he understands my competitiveness and toughness level,” Johnson said. “Also, he has had great success in basketball and played professionally for a number of years so he has another perspective to the game that he passes down to me.”
Before arriving in Georgia, Johnson says he learned a lot under the guidance of a fantastic coaching staff at Montverde led by head coach Kevin Boyle.
“It definitely took my game to another level. I felt like playing against the best of the best in practice definitely helped iron sharpens iron,” Johnson said. “Also learning the game from coach Boyle, who has produced some of the best guards in the game definitely helped my ball handling and guard skills overall.
“Working with Ray Miller, Joe Katucka, Kevin Boyle Jr. and Kevin Glassford in the prep program just helped me build the hunger to be better and master some of the things I felt like would take my game to the next level.”
Kamani’s older brother is Dakari Johnson is a 2013 Montverde graduate and a former Kentucky starter who now plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kamani says his brother taught him to always compete, starting at a young age.
“I’ve always wanted to beat him and be better than him. Now that I’m older and bigger I can take him a little bit more,” he said. “Also, I’ve learned that a skilled player can be better than a crazy athletic person. The coolest people I’ve probably met are his teammates from his U.K. team. I learned a lot from being around them and they turned into my big brothers.”
Johnson says his game is completely different from this point freshman year to right now.
“Freshman year I felt like I over-dribbled the ball a lot and used my height to kind of bully people,” he said. “I had an okay shot but, I didn’t really have an identity to my game. I was just known as a kid who played hard, with a high IQ and who competed like crazy.
“Now, I feel like I do a much better job at only using a couple dribbles to get by a person, I’m much more physical and learned how to use my body better to get position for rebounds. My shot has improved in a major way. I changed my whole form from freshman year, it’s crazy. Also, my motor, leadership skills and confidence have improved.”
As for the strengths in his game, he pointed to his mid-range shot, overall IQ, motor, passing and defensive ability. Johnson’s aiming to improve his aggressiveness, ballhandling and continuing to build his body.
He holds two offers currently from Memphis and Florida Gulf Coast. Also, Johnson has generated interest from Georgia Southern, Minnesota and Nebraska.
Johnson says the fair of failure and hunger to be great is what gets him out of bed and onto the basketball court each and every day.
“At the end of the day, I want to say I was the greatest player that I could’ve been I reached my full potential and this is how I know how to do it,” he said. “During the off-season, I usually have a strict workout schedule I keep with a group of brothers of mine. We usually do 2 or 3 a-days. Running hills in the morning and then basketball workouts and/or pickup in the afternoon.”
He plays on the EYBL circuit for coach Boobie Francis and Rasheed Wesley.
“It has been a good been experience,” Johnson said. “Playing for EYBL has showed me that I can compete with the best and throw my name in the hat even if I’m not ranked.”
In terms of his ultimate goal, this is what Johnson had this to say.
“My ultimate goal in basketball is to win multiple championships on every level,” he said. “When the ball stops bouncing I want to get into sports management.”
Johnson is packed with potential. He is starting to realize how to use his length and upper body strength to his advantage. I saw him play often this summer with Nike South Beach and there’s no doubt that he will flourish at Holy Spirit Prep.
The support group around him is so strong and he is focused on and off the court. Kamani Johnson is an up and comer that you need to know about if you don’t already.
Favorite players to watch – Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul
Playlist before games – Drake, A Boogie and Kodak Black
Favorite movies – He Got Game
Favorite TV shows – Narcos, Fresh Prince Bel Air and House of Cards
A fun fact about you that you think nobody knows – “I can sing. Drake’s “Sweeterman” is my favorite song to sing.”
Nickname(s) from your teammates or friends – “Mani”
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.