Chris Wright became the first player to go from the University of Dayton to the NBA since 1990 when he suited up for the Golden State Warriors last season.
Seeing Wright’s success has made Chris Johnson believe his dream is attainable, too.
“Chris is a great guy. I’m happy for him,” Johnson said. “It gives me confidence to hopefully be the second (UD) player in two years to make it to the NBA.”
Johnson likely will have to go the same route Wright did, trying to make a squad as an undrafted free agent. But he’s made a favorable impression with about a dozen NBA teams that flew him in for workouts and interviews, and he could be a late pick during the two-round NBA draft tonight (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.).
“The responses I’ve gotten from every team that’s worked him out is, one, what a good person he is and what a hard worker he is,” said Marc Cornstein, Johnson’s New York-based agent. “The feedback has been really positive. I think he’s surprised some people with how good a shooter he is and how versatile he is. A lot of people believe he can become a lockdown defender.
“If he had a shadow of a doubt before, he really knows he (can be) an NBA player now.”
Johnson, a 6-foot-3 1/2 shooting guard with a 6-11 wingspan, displayed his fierce competitiveness during his three-year run as a starter.
He was named the NIT most outstanding player during the 2010 title run and once had a 26-point, 20-rebound outing for the Flyers.
Johnson has been training for the last month in New York City, and he’ll watch the draft with his family in Orlando, Fla.
“I hope I get drafted, but if not, that’s not the end of the world,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to play on summer league teams.”
Asked what he’d bring to an NBA club, he said: “Provide energy, be a shut-down defender, rebounding. If I have a wide-open shot, I’ll take it. But other than that, I’ll just do the little things to help a team win.”
Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2125 or dharris@DaytonDailyNews.com.
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