Athlete of the Week: Sam Johnson


Ruby Batcheller

Freshman Sam Johnson began harnessing his love for basketball when he began playing at a more competitive level. “When I started playing competitively, It just started clicking for me,” he said. “It just felt right.”

Clare Daudelin, Editor

Freshman Sam Johnson has played multiple sports growing up but has settled into La Salle’s basketball program this year and looks forward to the springtime track and field season as well.

Johnson made JV basketball this year — a big feat for a freshman — despite not having played basketball his whole life. His commitment to the sport, despite the challenges of playing through a pandemic, has helped get him where he is today.

Over the most challenging parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson struggled in finding a team to play on. However, he was able to find a team in Canby. “I was a pickup player for a couple of tournaments,” he said.

Aside from basketball, Johnson has also participated in baseball as well as track and field; however, basketball has been the sport that has been most important to him so far, as Johnson has committed to playing competitively. “When I started playing competitively, it just started clicking for me,” he said. “It just felt right.”

One of Johnson’s favorite memories from competitive basketball is spending time with teammates during away tournaments. Johnson recalls a specific trip to Arizona for a tournament as containing some of his most memorable moments, especially getting to mess around with his friends and teammates in a store. 

Alongside the fun of playing basketball, one person who has motivated Johnson is his club coach who encouraged the team to keep improving. “That was his main philosophy,” he said. “Just keep pushing.”

Johnson’s favorite professional basketball teams include the local Portland Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks. Johnson looks up to Luka Dončić on the Mavericks because “the way he plays is just smooth and [he has] good passion,” he said.

On top of basketball, Johnson also is looking forward to running track in the spring. His events of choice include hurdles and the 4×100-meter relay. When Johnson has a hard time with track, he tries “not to focus on it,” and just keeps going.

Johnson’s advice to any incoming freshmen who plan on playing sports and could be in his position next year is: “Don’t be super nervous during tryouts,” he said.

Looking forward to the next three years at La Salle, Johnson hopes to make varsity basketball next year or his junior year.