IT has been a long and tedious journey with so many disappointments for Adam Johnson. But through Jaraun ‘Kino’ Burrows’ Raw Talent programme, Adam Johnson is now playing professional basketball in France.
He has signed with Fos Provence Basket Club where he’s developing through their No.5 team, but according to Burrows, they anticipate that the 6-foot, 6-inch forward will get the chance to advance through the ranks very quickly.
“He’s still young. It’s a development base and we expect big things out of Adam,” said Burrows, who plays out of the Fos Provence pro team. “He’s a high-flying, sharp-shooting defensive young prospect. I think the sky is the limit for him.
“It’s exciting because when these kids get into these types of situations, they take off. So it’s good to open the opportunities for these young kids. I will continue to mentor and manage them and always preach character and making use of your opportunity. Hopefully, we can get scores of young people the same opportunity in years to come.”
Looking back at his situation, Burrows said after Johnson was denied a college visa a few times to get into the United States, he’s happy that he could get him off. “He’s a very humble, but hungry individual,” Burrows said.
“So we expect some big things from him.”
The 21-year-old Johnson journeyed through high school in New Providence playing for the SC McPherson Sharks from 2010-2013, the CV Bethel Stingrays from 20-13-2015 and the Jordan Prince Williams Falcons from 2015-2017.
As one of the most prolific scorers in the system, Johnson couldn’t get off to college to continue his career and eventually ended up playing with the JD Seafood Shockers and the Commonwealth Bank Giants in the New Providence Basketball Association.
Two years ago, Johnson said he was approached by Burrows about joining his programme, which was geared towards assisting young players in the country to get to the professional level.
One of the requirements was for him to play in the Bahamas Basketball Federation’s Summer of Thunder against the visiting college teams where they were able to assess his skills.
That began the process that culminated with him going to France on August 8.
“The journey definitely was a long one physically, emotionally and especially mentally,” Johnson said. “Being denied (a visa) five times did something to my confidence and having lost my role model, Peron Bain, was hard.
“But training with Kino and playing this season with the Commonwealth Bank Giants helped me a lot with that, having national team members Furly (Michael Bain), D’Shon (Taylor) and Jackson (Jacob), along with our great coach Perry Thompson Jr, made me believe that I’m good enough to keep trying and someone will notice and that’s exactly what happened.”
The son of Lena Darling said it was a promise he made to Bain not to give up, although he was preparing to enrol in the Royal Bahamas Defence Force when he got the call from Burrows that the deal was done.
“I feel great. Finally all of the hard work is paying off,” Johnson said. “All the blood, sweat and tears that went into it wasn’t a waste of time. Now I just have to prove I deserve to be here.”
The season started this past weekend for Johnson, but having to iron out one or two matters, he won’t officially start playing until this weekend.
“My team is expecting me to bring my leadership skills to the table along with my offensive and defensive skill set,” Johnson noted. “The atmosphere here in France is amazing.
“I can’t wait until things are back to normal to really experience what France has to offer. I’m adjusting great. I got some people here guiding me, making sure my transition goes as smooth as possible. And having Kino (Burrows) and (Domnick) Nardo (Bridgewater) here with me makes everything better.”
Bridgewater, who got his break about two years ago with Burrows when he went to France to play in their developmental league just as Johnson is now doing, has just signed to play with their Fos Provence Basket pro team.
However, because the team was so loaded, Burrows said Bridgewater was loaned to Sapela Basket to play in the N2, which is the 4th league in France as he continues to develop his game.
Johnson publicly thanked Burrows, Jeffrey Henfield, Sherrone Johnson and Bain, along with his family and friends, for believing in him and ensuring that he stayed focused.
But he said the journey has just begun.
“I want to climb the ladder as quickly as God allows,” he said. “My aspirations still is the NBA (National Basketball Association).
“I’m not aiming for anything less.
To the local players who are still in the Bahamas, waiting on their dream to come true, Johnson offered this advice: “Just keep pushing. If you work hard enough and keep God in the mix, someone will notice what you’re doing and want to help.
“That’s what the Raw Talent programme is all about. It’s about giving the kids nobody wants a chance to succeed.”
No doubt, Johnson hopes to make the most of his opportunity in France.