Denzel Johnson Discusses Working at Bronco Summer Camp

Written by Student Assistant Linnea Lico

Denzel Johnson (DJ) talks to Santa Clara University (SCU) about his experience working for Bronco summer camp. As a rising senior, Johnson is able to give us a unique perspective of a basketball players' life during the off season.

SCU: What made you decide to work with the kids this summer? Is it your first time?

DJ: No, It's actually my third time. I started my incoming freshman year and it was just so much fun working with the kids because they look up to us as role models. It is just a great opportunity to teach someone younger than us and to give them the knowledge that we've learned from players that are older than us. It's always fun to work with them and they always have so much fun with it that it rubs off on you. It was a no-brainer when I decided to work the camp again.

SCU: Why did you originally choose to play basketball?

DJ: I'm the youngest of three brothers and both my older brothers played basketball. I always wanted to do everything that they wanted to do, so it was just something natural. I wouldn't say I was forced to do it, but there was no question whether I was going to play basketball or not because that's what they were doing. One day I fell in love with it and haven't wanted to put it down since.

SCU: Why did you choose Santa Clara?

DJ: I chose Santa Clara because I am from Fresno, Calif. and I wanted to get out of Fresno. Yet, I also wanted to stay close enough to where my family could come to games and to where I could maybe go home on the weekends if I wanted to. So Santa Clara, location-wise, worked perfect for me. Then I came out here on a visit and the weather was amazing compared to Fresno where it gets really hot. I just got a great feel for the whole community. Our coaching staff seemed like very trustworthy people. I got to hang out with some of the guys when I came on my visit as well. It just felt right. We all got along so I knew this was where I wanted to go.

SCU: Are you still happy here?

DJ: Yes, I am still happy. It has gone by extremely fast so that's how I know that I've been having fun. I only have one more year, which is crazy to me. I'm going to try to make the best of it.

SCU: Do you have any plans for after college yet?

DJ: Hopefully I get an opportunity to keep playing, whether its overseas or wherever it may be.  If that doesn't happen I'll have to start working. I'm very interested in broadcasting. My sophomore year I started working for EYEBRONCO and I really fell in love with it. It really opened my eyes to a whole other field and hopefully I can continue my career in that.

SCU: What do you personally get out of working the summer camp?

DJ: Personally the best thing that comes from summer camp is just spending time with the kids because they have so much to offer. It makes you feel even better about what you are doing because you're teaching the youth very valuable skills as far as basketball goes. You also get to spend a lot of time with them and see how their life has been going off the court. You learn a lot of interesting things about kids because generations change very quickly. I have noticed that the kids grow up a lot differently than my generation did just like obviously my generation grew up differently than the generations older than me. It's actually very fun to just pick their brains a little bit and just sit down and have a good time with them because basketball is only a small part of life. I'd say overall time spent with them is the best part.

SCU: What do you feel you bring to the summer camp?

DJ: I'm a pretty down to earth guy. I've noticed that a lot of the campers enjoy when I'm their coach. I actually had a kid cry when he had to move off of my team, so when I saw that happen it just let me know that they really enjoy working with me. I think just my presence and my personality uplifts the spirit of the camp.