He’s learning from the best.
Risen Johnson, who transferred from Oak Harbor to Coupeville for his junior year and is in contention to earn a slot on the Wolf boys’ varsity hoops squad, tabs “Bad Boys” as his favorite film.
No, not the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence cop shoot-em-up, but the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the Detroit Pistons of the late ’80s and early ’90s.
That squad, led by Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman, won back-to-back titles, dominated the NBA and frustrated the crud out of Michael Jordan with their five-fouls-per-play rule.
With Coupeville coach Anthony Smith putting an emphasis on defense, having the Pistons as role models should benefit Johnson.
But defense is not the only thing he brings to the floor.
Bouncing between the guard positions, Johnson, who also plays baseball, says his strength is “probably my handles,” though he would like to work a bit on his left-handed layups.
Having picked up the game at age five, he’s a firm believer in playing the way the Bad Boys always did — as a team, a five-man unit that moved together, played together, lived and died for each other on the court.
“I started because my older brother and uncle played, so I wanted to play with them and it always stuck with me ever since,” Johnson said. “I enjoy the whole team part and getting wins.
“Without the team, what’s basketball?”
While he’s new to the Wolf squad, he already had connections on the team before the jump to Coupeville.
Friends with CHS players Dante and DeAndre Mitchell, Johnson wanted a chance to suit up with them.
Now that he’s here, Johnson, who picks U.S. History with Randy King and conditioning with Brett Smedley as his favorite classes, has quickly bought into the team-wide goal of making a strong debut in the new 1A Olympic League.
“My goals for this upcoming season are to get that trophy, the banner, and to have fun with the team,” Johnson said.
While his distinctive first name is likely to catch people’s attention, he’s not sure if it has any special meaning.
“I actually do not know the story behind my name,” Johnson said. “I just know that I was named after my uncle.”
Give him a little time in a Wolf uniform and he should more than make a name for himself.