Stanley Johnson is in Chicago for the NBA Draft combine, going through pre-lottery measurements and an assortment of interviews. The Arizona Wildcat will be a player the Los Angeles Lakers take a look at, especially at the fourth or fifth slot, but they've crossed paths plenty of times already.
Johnson was raised in Fullerton, CA. and grew up a fan of the Lakers, like many-a Southern Californian. He didn't stray far from his west coast roots, either, shooting out just a skip and a hop away to Arizona for college ball. Stanley's biggest and only actual tie, though, traces back to former Lakers head coach Mike Brown.
Brown is a name that's faded into the backdrop following the last few years of Lakers basketball. His plan following his release from Los Angeles was to focus on his son, Elijah Brown's, basketball career. Enter Stanley Johnson, who became Brown's high school teammate and good friend. Stanley went so far as to say Mike Brown is "like a second father" to him, as reported in this great profile on the prospect from Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com
Being friends with the Brown family gave Stanley a chance to meet several Lakers, including front office members, according to Howard-Cooper. Johnson has surely been on Mitch Kupchak's radar for quite some time, as Johnson dominated in high school. He was named MaxPreps.com's National Player of the Year in 13-14, and actually had his number retired at Mater Dei -- the high school he attended.
Whether or not any of this matters won't be clear until the Lakers' draft position is locked in following the lottery. Johnson fell out of our staff's big board rankings, making way for Duke standout Justise Winslow and international swingman Mario Hezonja. Stanley was considered a top-five talent heading into the college season, but his stock took a hit following disappointing performances through the NCAA tournament.
A few great workouts from Johnson, or a few disappointing ones from the players ahead of him in most prospect rankings, and maybe these small details make a difference to the Lakers.