St. Ray’s forward dominates

Photo by Damion Reid

Sidiki Johnson watched the Boost Mobile Elite 24 all-American game Friday night at Gauchos Gym very intently. It was a contest that the St. Raymond rising junior thought he should be playing in.

Instead, Johnson dominated at Gauchos Gym two days later.

The 6-foot-8, Arizona-bound forward had 36 points to lead the Red team to a victory in the Nike Tournament of Champions Youth Showcase on Sunday in the Bronx. Johnson was awarded with the game’s most valuable player trophy – a golden ball – right before Nike crowned its top summer basketball team at Gauchos.

“I wanted to come out here and show people I should’ve been playing in the Elite 24 game.”

In fairness to Boost Mobile, there was just one rising junior in its all-star game – most of the players competing are going to be seniors this year, including Queens resident Doron Lamb of Oak Hill (Va.) Academy, who shared the Elite 24 MVP with Long Island’s Tobias Harris.

But Johnson showed he belonged with that crop of players – Lamb also played at the TOC – on Sunday afternoon. He was a vacuum on the offensive boards and finished countless put backs. And Johnson wasn’t just dominating inside. He showed some nifty moves on the perimeter, an improvement over this past winter at St. Ray’s.

“You get to see who’s been working out,” he said of the TOC game. Johnson’s head is clear of all the recruiting nonsense now, too. Earlier this month, he verbally committed to Arizona, where Bronx native Kevin Parrom, another former St. Ray’s Raven, and Lamont (Momo) Jones, will be headed this year to play for new coach Sean Miller.

He had a productive summer with the Long Island Lightning and performed very well at the Reebok All-American Camp in July. Johnson, a All-City third team selection, is ranked No. 58 in the nation in the Class of 2011 by and is the 11th best power forward.

He’s hoping to take St. Ray’s to a New York State Federation title this season and the Ravens should be a CHSAA Class AA intersectional title candidate. After that, Johnson has a feeling where he’ll be playing next summer: the Elite 24 game.

“I will next year,” he said confidently. “Next year, I’ll play.”

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