Illawarra Next Star AJ Johnson is champing at the bit to get back on court following suffering a broken nose at practice.

30 Aug
By Dan Woods for

Illawarra Next Star AJ Johnson has spent the last few months learning from the best – and he’s ready to get back on court, after suffering a broken nose during pre-season training.

Prior to linking up with the Hawks, the 18-year-old spent time training alongside NBA stars Kevin Durant and Jalen Green.

“Jalen is like my brother,” Johnson told the Illawarra Mercury. “I’ve known him since I was ten years old. [We’ve] been going to the gym with each other ever since them – just growing up together.

“With Kevin Durant, I started working out with him a couple of months before I got here.

“Learning off them (sic) two is really good, just to see them do stuff – especially right in front of you where they can give you hints and help you out.

“I picked up a lot of good things just from watching them and being with them.”

Since suffering the inadvertent broken nose at practice, Johnson has been limited to a selection of conditioning and shooting drills – but cannot participate in full contract training or practice games yet.


He required surgery to fix the injury, and he’s champing at the bit to get the all clear for his return to play.

“I’m ready to get back on the court and start playing,” he said.

“I’ve been itching to get involved in the practices more.

“They’re not letting me right now because of my nose, but it shouldn’t be too long – I’m excited to get back on the court.”

Johnson will not feature in the Hawks’ upcoming pre-season clash with New Zealand, but is firming for an NBL bow at the upcoming Hungry Jack’s NBL Blitz.

For more information on the Hungry Jack's NBL Blitz, click here.

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