Rise of Cam Johnson, 'He's Not The Same Player'

Quierra Luck

Cam Johnson's NBA rise has been coming, and basketball fans shouldn't be surprised. His work ethic is one of his exceeding qualities. Coby White's hype was valid; Johnson deserves your attention.

Johnson became a first-round pick, drafted at number 11 to the Phoenix Suns in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Suns were heavily criticized for selecting the, at the time, 23-year old; He was the oldest in the draft. Before the end of the season due to COVID-19, Johnson was averaging 7.8 points and 2.8 rebounds. Since the restart of the NBA season, Johnson has started in both games amassing 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 18.5 minutes.

"Cam is one of those guys who seems like he's just gotten better from being away from the game for about three, almost four months, and having a chance to work on some things and come back with more confidence," Williams told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM

During the NBA All-Star break, Johnson returned to Chapel Hill, and not only did he join the draft wall, but he participated in practices and spent time giving confidence to a much needed team. When he practiced with the team, Brandon Robinson commented on the change he saw in Johnson, he's not the same player we knew,

'He is a totally different player. He is way better than he was when he was here. It was insane. Just the speed he was playing at, the things he was doing. I couldn't believe it." Robinson told Sports Illustrated, "It seemed like a whole different player. Like I even told him, 'Man, you are way better than when you were here.'

But it was last night against the Dallas Mavericks Johnson had twitter singing his praises. The small forward had his first double-double with an excitable 19 points ad 12 rebounds in 40 minutes. Johnson was the only Sun with a double-double. It was a career night for the former Tar Heel being named the star of the game.

Upon his departure from the University of Pittsburgh, Johnson graduated with honors three years with a degree in communications. As a transfer at UNC, the Pennsylvania native worked toward's his master's degree in sports administration. 

After healing from a torn meniscus, Johnson managed to finish his two seasons with Carolina as the leading scorer recording 16.9 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists while shooting 48% F.G. and 41% from behind the arc. 

Johnson's achievement as not only a transfer but a fan favorite has led Coach Roy Williams to use his success as a tool on his recruitment visits. Just last year, Johnson helped lead UNC to 16-2 in ACC Conference standings, 24-7 overall, and a third-round appearance in the NCAA tournament.

Johnson and the Suns play the L.A. Clippers tomorrow at 4 pm on NBATV.

Stay with AllTarHeels for all your Tar Heel sports updates.

You can follow us for future coverage by clicking “Follow” on the top right hand corner of the page.

Follow us on Twitter: @SI_Heels | @Quierra_Luck

Please post any comments below!

Comments (1)
No. 1-1
Jonah Lossiah
Jonah Lossiah


Some players are just built for the NBA, and Cam is one of those. He's such a cerebral player. Plus his length and pure shot form make him a perfect perimeter threat. So excited to see him grow into his role. Should have a nice long career if he can stay healthy.