Arizona's Johnson drafted by Rockets in second round
Pac-12 player of the year goes to Houson at No. 42.
Arizona's Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson both were drafted into the NBA on Thursday, Gordon to the Magic and Jonson to the Rocketts.
Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY Sports
By Steve Rivera
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Nick Johnson is a patient man. Of course, it helps when your future is in the balance and you're appreciative of the opportunity.
The former Arizona star and Pac-12 Conference player of the year was happy with being drafted in Thursday night's NBA draft, going 42nd to Houston.
"It was good, a process and long ... but it's been a dream of mine forever," Johnson told FoxSportsArizona.com. "It was good to live it out. I'm going to a great team."
Johnson, from Gilbert, Ariz., was projected as a second round pick but it was unclear where. Johnson worked out for more than a dozen teams, including Houston.
"I knew the teams that liked me, but it was just a waiting game," he said. "It was (about) what team was going to take the chance. I'm happy where I am. Now, I'm getting to work now."
How he fits in with the Rockets will soon be seen. He's a shooting guard - 6-foot-3, 200 pounds - attempting to prove he can play point guard in the NBA. He averaged 16.3 points and 4.1 rebounds a game.
The Rockets roster includes the popular Jeremy Lin and former Arizona State star James Harden. He did, however, mention first-year guard Patrick Beverly who he "can latch on to and learn from."
Johnson said he knows Harden from being recruited by ASU when he was just entering high school. Harden was an underclassman then.
"I got to watch him a lot," he said. "He's obviously a superstar now."
Former Arizona player Matt Brase is in the Rockets' player development office. He is the grandson of former Arizona Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson. Brase was part of Arizona's staff when Johnson was being recruited to Arizona, as well.
"I've talked to him a lot," Johnson said. "It's a great fit. People from Arizona are everywhere in the NBA."
Houston is getting a talented and athletic player who was named the Pac-12 Conference player of the year last season. Yet, he was the eighth player from the conference selected in the draft, including former Arizona teammate Aaron Gordon, who was taken at No. 4.
Gordon and Johnson now make it four players the Wildcats have seen drafted in the last two seasons with Solomon Hill, Grant Jerrett selected last season. Hill was a first-rounder (Indiana) and Jerrett (Oklahoma City) a second rounder.