Peter Caty/the Mirror

One of the most accomplished Stags’ athletes of the next decade is still chasing his dream of playing in the NBA.

Anthony Johnson’s ’10 journey as a professional basketball player starts halfway across the world in the small European nation of Cyprus with Keravnos.  Johnson has made his home there since August 25.

At the time of his announcement Johnson said, “I pretty much look at going overseas as a new experience.  It’s like going to college again.  I’ll meet new people and have new experiences.  I’m not nervous at all.”

While Johnson is excited and confident about starting his professional career in Cyprus, he knows that it may be difficult to break into the lineup right away.

However, his credentials speak for themselves as he leaves the MAAC conference for a whole new breed of basketball.

Johnson is coming off a stellar senior season in which he averaged 16.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

Johnson was not only named the MAAC defensive player of the year, but also to the All-MAAC First team.  He also led the league in blocked shots with 2.4 per contest.  Johnson battled through a career-threatening blood clot scare his junior year, but bounced back to lead the Stags to the MAAC final last March.

In a recent interview, Anthony seemed very comfortable about his life in Europe.   Johnson feels blessed that he is able to play basketball as an occupation rather than deal with the 9-5 rigors that many other Stag graduates are going through as we speak.

His plans are to test out his game in Cyprus for a year, and then revisit his options after the season to see what the next step in fulfilling his dream of playing in the NBA will be.

Off the court, life in Cyprus has been more than suitable as well – Johnson is able to enjoy the space of a three bedroom apartment and keep his body rested up for daily practice and workouts.  As he aptly puts it, “I love not having to wake up for class or an office job.”

While Cyprus has been a positive experience so far, Johnson’s ultimate goal is to return to the States when the time is right and continue to pursue the NBA dream.

This past spring, Johnson was invited to attend the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational pre-draft camp in Portsmouth, Va.  Johnson spoke about the valuable experience he received from this camp, from playing with some of the top college basketball players in the country, to meeting with various NBA agents.

Scouts from all 30 NBA teams watched his every move as he competed with all of the top NCAA graduating seniors.  Johnson also mentioned that he would highly recommend this to any future Stags who may receive the invitation.

When asked how long he wants to keep playing basketball, Johnson responded, “I am only 22 years old but I want to play ball as long as my body will allow me…but I don’t want to push my body to the point where when I am done playing I can’t enjoy my family and be able to play one-on-one with my son.  I hope I can play for another 15 years.”  Anthony Johnson has a long road ahead of him until he stops playing: a road that just may ultimately lead to the NBA.

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