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Doing Work with DJonkins -- Living the Life of Avery Johnson Jr.
November 13, 2012By Matt Malatesta of VYPE MAGAZINE - North Houston
Doing Work with DJonkins
Living the NBA Life with The Cooper School's Avery Johnson Jr.
Being a Junior is not always easy, especially if your father is a former NBA champion and the current head coach of the hippest pro team in the league.
Avery Johnson scratched and clawed his way through his basketball career, starting in New Orleans' St. Augustine High School. At 5-foot-8, Johnson was always thought to be too small, but after bouncing from New Mexico Junior College to Cameron College, he made his name at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Undrafted in the NBA, he played in the minor leagues of pro hoops, the USBL. He finally got his chance, and 16 years later and an NBA championship with the San Antonio, Johnson's jersey was retired by the Spurs' organization.
Johnson's tenacity has made him a great NBA coach, leading the Dallas Mavs to their first-ever NBA Finals appearance. He now is the head man for the Brooklyn Nets.
So what is it like to be a Junior to all of that?
"There are definitely positives and negatives," Avery Johnson Jr., said. "Everyone expects me to play the same way he played. They think I should become famous and go to the NBA. The other part is that people think that the only way I get noticed and recruited by colleges is because my dad is an NBA coach. I see it all over Twitter, Facebook, where ever, but I hear it all the time. It just makes me work harder."
The John Cooper School point guard is often challenged by his father to be better. And that is the positive.
"He's an NBA coach," he laughs. "He's a great dad, but I have to listen to him as a basketball coach. He works me out hard, watches all my games on film and gives me great advice. He's pretty intense."
Johnson Jr., enters his junior season with high expectations for his school and himself. He has hopes of leading his team to the Division I playoffs and impress college coaches enough to parlay a scholarship. While his life is all about basketball, he understands the rigors on his body and takes care of himself.
"Derrick has helped me elevate my game a lot," he said. "He has designed a work out for me for what I need as a basketball player. It's not a football workout, but a basketball workout. Derrick has improved my agility and core strength so much. I feel so strong and his program also helps me with injury prevention."
Derrick Jonkins, who trains from The Woodlands to Orange County, CA., has trained some of the most elite athletes in the city. From football to diving and basketball to baseball, Jonkins has a blue-print for success.
"Training Avery is awesome," Jonkins said. "He works hard all the time and is focused on being the best. He has set his sights on playing big-time DI basketball one day and he is focused on doing everything it will take for him to get there. He is what I call a #gymrat. In the gym all the time, trying to get that extra edge even if it's at 5 a.m. "Shooting jump shots before school, in the weight room with me or in Brooklyn working out with the Nets, he is willing to do whatever it takes.
"Like I tell every kid, if you keep chasing your dreams and working hard they will come true. Hard work will never let you down. It's just a blessing that I get to help so many kids like Avery go after their dreams. I think by him being around NBA players helps him understand the hard work and dedication it takes to get to that level. He is always coming back and telling me that some of the same things I have him doing, the Nets' trainer has them doing."
With colleges starting to show attention off of his play in the summer AAU circuit, Johnson has high expectations for himself. He wants to play in college and he gets a large helping of what it takes to get to the NBA.
"The best part about being the son of an NBA coach," he laughs. "Living the NBA lifestyle. During the Christmas break, I get up to New York, travel with the team and sit on the floor during games. I love the lifestyle."