Suns’ Cam Johnson has Master’s thesis in back of mind during NBA Finals

Jul 8, 2021, 1:46 PM | Updated: Aug 17, 2021, 7:20 am
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) looks to pass as Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Jo...
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) looks to pass as Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) defends during the second half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals, Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

Suns guard Cam Johnson has been a solid option for Phoenix throughout the NBA playoffs.

He’s averaging 8.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and a career-high 1.1 steals so far.

He finished Game 1 of the NBA Finals with 10 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in the Suns’ 118-105 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. The former first-round draft pick played key minutes down the stretch and defended Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo very well, including picking the star’s pocket in the fourth quarter.

He’s impressing on the biggest stage, which has somewhat put a wrench in his academic responsibilities. While the Finals is on the forefront of his mind, Johnson’s Master’s thesis sits waiting to be finished.

Obviously, he’s not complaining.

“I’m halfway through it. I have proposed it and I’m getting ready to do data collection, but I’ve been getting ready to do data collection for a while,” Johnson said after the team’s practice on Wednesday.

ABC and ESPN broadcaster Mike Breen mentioned during Tuesday’s game that the Suns guard is finishing his Master’s degree in sports administration, which he started at the University of North Carolina.

Johnson added that he will finish his thesis in the offseason because playing in the NBA playoffs has kept him busy.

But don’t worry. His family will make sure it gets done.

“My mom gets on me about it. My grandma gets on me about it. They are like, ‘When are you going to finish it? When are you going to finish it?’ I’m like, ‘Guys, I’ll finish it,'” Johnson said.

“I remember I was going somewhere and my mom was like, ‘You shouldn’t be going there. You haven’t finished your thesis yet.’ So, it’s like I’m not allowed to go see my friends before I finish my homework or something like that. But I give my parents a ton of credit, my mom and dad a ton of credit, for staying on myself and my brothers academically. Making sure that was always emphasized, and they never really let us slack off.”

Before arriving to Chapel Hill, Johnson graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in communications in three years. He credits his academic drive to his brother Aaron.

“My older brother set a really good role model. He was a really good role model for me academically. He was valedictorian of his high school class and a really successful student. So, it was always something for me to try to compete with and catch up to,” Johnson said.

Right now, Johnson and Phoenix are competing for the team’s first ever title.

The Suns take a 2-0 lead into Sunday night’s Game 3 matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks. Tune to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station at 5 p.m. for all the action.

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