Former Missouri State Bear Alize Johnson is giving back after his first year with the Indiana Pacers.
Alize started a foundation to help young basketball players reach their goals in his hometown, Williamsport, Pennsylvania. To help raise more money for the foundation, Alize came back to Springfield to put on a two-day basketball camp, and he realizes all of this is possible because of the work he’s put in.
“I’m not the highest jumper, not the most skilled guy on the court, but I work extremely hard and that’s what separates me from other players sometimes,” Johnson said.
Alize’s worked hard his entire life, and now he’s among the 1-percent of basketball players who make it to the NBA. And with his first year came some big lessons.
“Stay focused and whenever your number is called be ready to go,” Johnson said. “I just tried to develop as much as possible and make sure I’m listening to everything those coaches are telling me out there, and listen to detail, so I can keep improving as a player and as a person.”
The former Bear is guaranteed a second season with Pacers, and with a year of experience he feels better prepared for year two.
“I know what’s going on, I know what coaches expect. I’m going to be able to slow some things down and flow into it much easier than the guys coming in that are newer,” said Johnson.
Playing in the NBA gives Alize a chance to do more for the community he grew up in, and holding these camps reminds him how far he’s come since he was a kid.
“You see those older guys helping you out when you’re that age, then to finally be that guy and make that turn around to it now being me, I want to make sure to do it the right way and do as much as I can,” said Johnson.