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April 11, 2007Coahoma County had been used to winning state titles with back-to-back trophies leading into this season. A change in personnel, however, forced their star - Mississippi State signee Ravern Johnson - to make adjustments. While it may have hurt him in the overall state rankings, it helped him hone skills he will need next year in the SEC. He talks about his senior season and what he has learned.
"We didn't have a true point guard so a lot of us had to step up, especially me, more than I had all the other years," he explained. "Because I had a good point guard the couple of years we won state, so I had a big load on my back.
"I played point guard in clutch situations, because the coach wanted me with the ball in my hands. They knew I could handle the ball good enough not to turn it over in situations we need to score or just hold the ball."
Johnson will be heading to State as a small forward, but feels his time leading his team will pay dividends for the Bulldogs over the next several years.
"Being a point guard is hard," he said with a laugh. "You got to have vision on the floor. You got to take care of the ball. You got to be a total player, so me being able to do that, I have improved over all the years I have been playing ball."
Although spending a lot of time at a position not normally associated with big numbers, Johnson's stats remained amazingly consistent with the ones he had put up in previous seasons.
"It really didn't affect things," he said. "I think my point average went down a point. I think I averaged 22 and last year I had 23.
"It did my blocked shots, but that is the only thing. Being a point guard, you still have to go to the hole to try to rebound too, so it really didn't mess up my game. I think I averaged nine rebounds, three blocks, and six steals."
Although focusing on his last year of high school basketball, Johnson still managed to take in several of his new team's games.
"I watched all their games on TV and I went to a couple of games," he explained. "They started off good, then as the season progressed they got even better and they made it far in the NIT. They should have ended up in the championship game, but one lucky three (by West Virginia in the Final Four) messed that up."
With high school hoops behind him and with the new skills and perspective he acquired as a senior, what will he do to help MSU get over the hump this fall?
"I am going to come in and help any way I can," he said. "I am a great shooter, so if I can help them there, or rebounding anything. Just help them out. They need more scorers and probably rebounding, just people that can take over a game.
"I am happy with my decision."
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