Jun 23, 2014 1:41 AM by Richie Melby (firstname.lastname@example.org)
COLORADO SPRINGS - U.S. soccer is stealing the headlines during this 2014 World Cup, rightfully so, but America continues to dominate the basketball world in Colorado Springs. Future Wildcat Stanley Johnson takes on a new role as he chases gold medal number three. News 4 Tucson caught up with the incoming star to learn more about his experience in Colorado Springs.
"I think any time you get the best players in the country at your age group in the same gym, it's always going to be nice," said Johnson. "As I transition to college I kind of need this competition early and this is the best place to get it.
"I'm happy to be here again, this is my fourth time going for a gold medal so I'm excited."
America continues to dominate the worldwide basketball scene from the youth level to the Olympics. Stanley Johnson has been through this process before and admits bringing together 12 athletes used to being the guy can be difficult.
"Everybody has to go through that transition because everybody used to be the guy on their team, that's why they're here," explained Johnson. "But once you get this team together, all 12 guys, they respect each other so much that they are willing to give up their points for the team value.
"Most guys don't come out of here scoring 30 points per game, most guys might come and score 17 or 18 points per game and we still come out with a gold medal. If we go play and do our hardest we'll get that gold and everyone will get some love."
It also helps that Team USA brings in the top coaches in the country to guide these young stars. This year, that includes Sean Miller and according to Johnson, coach Miller has no problem getting after him to improve his game.
Said Johnson, "when you're a player like me with everyone around you telling you 'good, good, good' you need somebody to tell you 'bad, bad, bad' sometimes. So I'm happy he's here. Coach Donovan, he has no problem getting on me either so I have my fair share of that here."
Imagine how explosive Stanley Johnson will be when he steps foot in Tucson after learning from the likes of Donovan and Miller at an international level. That paired with 11 other outstanding young athletes leave no doubt in his mind the USA U18 club will eventually capture that next gold medal.
"I never go into a tournament thinking I'm not going to win the tournament," he said, "so as a team of course we want to win it. There are a lot of great teams here but I think we have enough to take it.
"If we stay focused the whole time we should be fine."