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Gorman: Growth spurt lets OLSH star reach new heights

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Cameron Johnson didn't just hit a growth spurt when he shot up at least four inches over the past year.

The Our Lady of the Sacred Heart basketball star saw his game soar to new heights, too.

Johnson started his junior season as a 6-foot-2, 165-pound point guard. He now stands 6-6, 185, and can play almost anywhere.

“I expected to grow at least some in high school because my parents are tall and my mom grew late,” said Johnson, whose father is 6-8 and mother is 5-11.

“It's allowed me to play more positions, that's for sure. I've always stuck to point guard and shooting guard. Now, I can fill in at small forward and power forward. That's what schools like to see, a guy who is versatile and can play multiple positions.”

After averaging 16 points a game last season, Johnson had a strong summer on the AAU circuit. He now has offers from Bryant, Columbia, Marist, Massachusetts-Lowell, Toledo and Wright State.

More Division I schools are showing interest, such as Colgate, Charlotte, Penn and Richmond.

“He just shot up — and I don't think he's done growing,” OLSH coach Mike Rodriguez said. “He was my point guard — he'll still be my point guard — but he can play any position. That's what people like about him: He's a 6-6 guard who can play multiple positions now.

“This guy works on his game all the time. He's your prototypical gym rat. He handles it well, plays well under pressure, has great range on his 3-point shot, is really penetrating well and finishes so strong now.”

That was not part of Johnson's repertoire last season, but it is something he's looking forward to showcasing as a senior.

“It was a lot different how I approached going to the hoop because I didn't have the ability to play above the rim,” Johnson said. “Now that I do, it's opened a lot of different abilities and ways to score.”

Not only does Johnson have great basketball bloodlines — his father, Gil, played at Pitt from 1988-90, his mother, Amy Schuler, was a 1,000-point scorer at Kent State in the ‘80s, and his older brother, Aaron, plays at Clarion — but outstanding academics.

Johnson boasts a 4.3 grade-point average and scores of 32 on the ACT and 1,960 on the SAT.

Not to mention that Gil Johnson isn't convinced that his son has stopped growing.

“He's definitely over 6-6,” Gil said. “When we stand side-by-side, he has me by a tad bit. His shoulder was higher than mine. He's telling people he's 6-6, but he hasn't been measured.”

Cameron Johnson is proving that there's room for growth.

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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