MILWAUKEE — In his second year with the program at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), Mason Johnson, is proud to be a stormer.
"A lot of people underestimate junior college basketball," Johnson, a Milwaukee native, said. "It's intense and the guys work really hard on and off the court."
For Johnson, that hard work directly translated into averaging 16.7 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. It is a performance good enough to be named North Central Community College Player of the Year.
"The first thing I wanted to do was get chemistry with everybody," he said. "Get chemistry with our point guards, chemistry with our big men, we worked in the preseason and that translated to the court on the first day."
Succeeding on a personal level, Johnson now looks to his teammates as MATC is just one win away from the NJCAA Division II National Tournament.
"It's all there," he said. "It starts in practice and the games are so exciting. Biggest dream for me is I want to play in March Madness. This is the closest to March Madness that I've been to and it would just be so exciting for the guys. We worked so hard for this, they put in so much effort and you can see it in practice and see it when we work out."
Hosting Black Hawk College-Moline the Region IV Championship, Johnson and the Stormers will their right to go dancing.
"There's nothing like that atmosphere, you know, having people in the crowd cheering you on," says Johnson. "We take every team, every opponent very seriously. I feel like we just need that one more game, that's how we take it one step at a time."
MATC vs. Black Hawk College tips off Saturday at 3 p.m. at Alverno College.