Johnson Aiming for Draft Day

The experts will tell you that former Mississippi State guard Ravern Johnson has little chance of being taken in Thursday’s NBA Draft. Johnson is a little more upbeat about that.

Johnson, about whom I wrote in Sunday’s Journal, has worked out for several teams: Boston, Memphis, New Jersey, Phoenix, Sacramento and Washington.

“I think I did pretty good in just about all of them. I think my stock’s been going up,” he said when we spoke Friday. “I did real good at Boston, so Boston is real high on me right now, too.”

But will anyone be high enough on Johnson to actually draft him, or will they wait and try to pick him up as a free agent? Boston, at least, seems to be considering drafting him. That’s according to Johnson, anyway.

“(They said) I’m high on their list right now, a guy they’re looking forward to drafting. They’re keeping me in mind if I’m still available when their pick comes up. They just told me to be patient and keep working hard like I have been, and hopefully everything will work out.”

Johnson’s game can be summed up briefly: He’s a shooter, and a very good one. Check the numbers in my story, and it’s worth noting that his strong finish ran counter to the trend up until then of Johnson’s production dropping off when the competition got a little tougher.

Johnson, who’s been training at Joe Abunassar‘s Impact Basketball gym in Las Vegas, said he’s honing other parts of his game, like ball-handling and defense. He’s put on 10 pounds, weighing in now at a robust 185.

Johnson reminds ESPN analyst Jay Bilas of former Georgia Tech guard Anthony Morrow, who wasn’t drafted in 2008 but signed with Golden State. In three seasons, the last one with New Jersey, Morrow has averaged 12.1 ppg while shooting 44.7 percent from 3-point range.

“I don’t think Ravern shoots it well as Morrow did,” Bilas said. “Morrow had a really good feel for the game coming out of high school and college, but we weren’t sure about his athleticism and all that stuff. But having that special skill and being able to shoot it can certainly put you on somebody’s roster.”