An All-American high school senior out of Atlanta who led her school to three state championships will be the first girl to play in a boys All-American game on Friday.
The Iverson Classic, played in Memphis, invited South Carolina commit Raven Johnson to compete in the events on Friday, May 7 and Saturday, May 8.
On Friday Johnson will participate against the other All-American boys in a variety of games including a dunk contest, 3-on-3, and more.
Johnson is a part of Team Loyalty coached by former NBA players Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes. On Saturday Johnson and her team will play Team Honor coached by former NBA players Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells.
Johnson found out that she was chosen to partake in the classic through social media. She said officials from the Iverson Classic direct messaged her.
“I was crying. I was like this is crazy. This is God’s plan,” Johnson said.
The South Carolina commit plans to enjoy the experience, and “really just represent for the girls.”
Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley has reached out to the incoming freshman ahead of the weekend in Memphis.
Johnson said Staley told her to “just have fun and be the best version of me.”
The Gamecock commit wasn’t sold on the school at first, but once COVID started, she became close with Staley.
“We started building a relationship and then we just started talking every day,” Johnson said.
She never looked back after going to the University of Connecticut versus South Carolina game.
“I fell in love with South Carolina, the school, the environment, especially the fans. When I saw the fans, that just blew my mind, and the team made me comfortable. I knew that was home for me,” Johnson said.
After consistently winning championships in high school, she hopes to bring more championships to South Carolina. In recent history, the Gamecocks have been making it far in the NCAA tournament, but they haven’t been crowned champion since 2017.
“I’m just going to try to get us national championships, more than one. I’m going to try to do my best and whatever I have to do or whatever she wants me to do, I’ll do it,” Johnson said.
She said she knows the college game is going to be faster and tougher, and she’s preparing right now by working on her conditioning and strength.
Johnson plans to study law and become a sports agent.
She is also a Naismith girls’ All-American and a McDonald’s All-American. Those games were canceled due to COVID.