This edition of Five Questions is with McKenna Johnson. McKenna is one of the top 2025 posts in the region who plays club basketball with North Tartan 2025 Nike & will be a Sophomore at Mandan High School (ND). Thanks for your time McKenna!
1) You have just completed your season with North Tartan 2025 Nike which included a Minnesota State AAU Championship, and an incredible overall season, playing up in many events against strong competition. What were some of your highlights from this past Club season?
Some of my favorite highlights was being able to shoot the 3 and not just play in the paint and the whole team getting excited and having energy 24/7 because that's stuff that my high school team lacks. Another one of my favorites is just blocking shots and being able to make plays out of them.
2) You have started down the recruiting process, and have received Division I offers and more interest as well. What are some of the things that you will be looking for in a college academically and as a basketball school?
Things I will be looking for academically in a school is a good medical program since that is what I want to pursue in college and outside of college. What I look for in a college sport wise is just a team that has a good team connection and that's willing to give 100% and push each other.
3) This is a question I like to ask players that travel a great distance to play club basketball in another state. By my estimates it's about 6 hours from Mandan to Minneapolis, where North Tartan is located. What are some of the reasons you've made the commitment to travel so far for your club basketball experience and how did you learn about North Tartan?
Ever since I was in 5th grade, I was a huge fan of Paige and would watch her on YouTube and she had played for North Tartan so that's kind of where the interest of North Tartan started. I also play against Logan Nissley and have become good friends with her, and she happens to have played with them too. I think both my family and I were willing to make the trip every week was because of how big of an opportunity playing for North Tartan was. Not only does it give you exposure, but the program really does teach you things that I don't think North Dakota AAU teams could teach.
4) You led Mandan last season in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots at a Freshman. You were knocked out of the playoffs by Legacy. With a lot of young talent like yourself now emerging in North Dakota, what are some of the things you and your teammates will be looking to do this season to try and get to the State Tournament?
One of the biggest things I know my team and I are looking to change is just executing the little things and changing the lack of team chemistry. The last two seasons we haven't had the best of team chemistry on and off the court and I think all of us younger girls that are returning since we did lose 4 starters know that it's our time to step it up and change the way we play so we can be a state contender this year.
5) You've been able to play in a lot of different places in your travel with North Tartan and throughout North Dakota. Besides your home gym, what are some of your favorite places to play and what made those places special?
Some of my favorite places to play has to be Watfords gym. That's probably my most favorite place to play during season because that's where I had my breakthrough game my 8th grade year. Another one of my favorite places to play definitely has to be the small outdoor court in Elgin at my grandparents. That's where I learned how to play and where I fell in love with the sport.