Logan Johnson was set to move to South Florida, to be near his brother, Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson.
But those plans have changed.
The soon-to-be St. Francis senior, as he hinted last month, has made it official: He is staying for his final season at the Mountain View school, concluding that playing with a young crop of talented teammates who gained experience last season and under coach Mike Motil was the best option.
Johnson spoke with the Bay Area News Group on Monday.
Here is what he had to say:
Q: Why are you staying?
A: I talked about it with my family. We just thought it would be fine if we stayed. Motil is a great coach. He coaches me well. He knows me best. Going to these other schools, it felt really different. The crazy thing is Motil was the one helping me try to find schools out here. That just shows how good of a person coach Motil is because he could have been, ‘Well, you’re leaving me.’ But he was doing school research, coming up to me every day. I already knew he was a great guy, for all that he helped my brother do and my sister at St. Francis. But it really spoke to me how much he invested into me — when he was at school searching schools in Florida and trying to find ways that it can fit the same way as St. Francis.
Q: When did you let coach Motil know you would be back?
A: It was just through the process. Kind of like near the last day of school, during finals, I was just like I can’t leave. It would be tough. I can’t do it.
Q: You play on an AAU team (Tyler Johnson Elite) with a lot of South Bay players — Bellarmine’s Jake Wojcik and Kendall Stubblefield, Los Gatos’ Dylan Belquist and Alex Braken-Guelke, Palo Alto’s Max Dorward, among others. How much did that help influence you as well?
A: Those are my guys. I’ve known them forever. Growing up with them through hoops and me being in AAU with them makes me say, ‘What if I stayed another year with them?’ We can look back on what we did because we have a crazy thing going in AAU with a great team. Just a bunch of guys that work hard and get in the gym, and they sacrifice a lot for each and every one of us. Everybody sacrifices for each other, speaks a lot to our character and how we play. You don’t want to leave that and go to something else. I like what I’ve been doing with my guys here. I feel comfortable enough staying.
Q: What was Jake’s reaction. (The two shared West Catholic Athletic League player of the year honors this past season)?
A: That’s my best friend. He was one of the first people I told. I called him and was like, ‘Hey, you think I can give you buckets one more time at St. Francis?’ He started laughing. He was like, ‘Man, I am glad you’re staying. We’re going to kill this league again.’ I said, Let’s do it. That’s just us being competitive toward each other, enjoying each other’s company.
Q: How tough would it have been to leave St. Francis after the heartbreaking, season-ending regional final loss to Moreau Catholic?
A: It wasn’t really so much that. We had a great season. People didn’t even expect us to go that far. People expected us to be at the bottom after they saw who left (from the previous season). They expected us to do nothing. Like I said about coach Motil and what he brings to the table, we didn’t even know who we were going to play down the road some games. He has so much confidence in people that it gives people the ability to play well. We played three or four sophomores. Tell me what other team played three or four sophomores at that high of a level? We had Oscar (Pedraza) shooting free throws against Mitty to seal the deal against them. We’ve got Roy (Yuan), who is just starting to get better and better … we’ve got him hitting two big threes against Serra. I remember those little things. It’s going to be a dangerous team next year. I’ll tell you that.
Q: The team will be aiming high next season?
A: The sky’s the limit next year for us, I think. I don’t think I’ve come into a season besides my sophomore year with obviously my super team where I’ve really thought about how good we’ll be. I was looking at this team. Even if this team was without me next year, this team is going to be very, very good because they play with each other, and they do what Motil tells them to. Motil, that man is a legend.
Q: Off the subject. What were your thoughts when you heard Kyree Walker, MaxPreps’ national freshman of the year, is leaving Moreau for an Arizona prep school?
A: I immediately texted him and just told him … we talk a little bit, and I told him just do your thing and best of luck to you. And if he needed anything from me, he knew that I was there as a resource. He gets a lot of stuff thrown at him. But he works hard, and I feel like people don’t always see that. He puts his head down in the gym, and he works hard. I see a lot of myself in him with the way we play. I told him best of luck and if you need anything from me, you know you’ve got it.
Q: Lastly, what was your brother’s reaction about you not moving to the Miami area?
A: My brother has been a father figure to me, heading back to when I was 2, starting to play basketball. He just told me if you don’t want to move out here, I am not forcing you guys to. I am just saying we will buy you a house here if that’s what you want. If you want to play here and that’s what you want to do, then we’ll do it. We spoke. He called me up after I just finished talking with my mom. He goes, ‘What are you thinking?’ I don’t know if I can do it. He was like, ‘That’s fine. I am going to have your support either way because that’s a big decision, and I understand it.’ He said whatever you want to do, I am on board with. That just shows … he has always been there for us and will continue to be, even if we’re on opposite sides of the United States.
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