Xavier Johnson rounds out Rampart boys' talented trio of guards

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Photo - Rampart's Xavier Johnson takes control of the ball while being guarded by Vista Ridge's Tristan Pratt (right to left) during the third quarter of a game. Rampart defeated Vista Ridge 56-47 at Rampart High School on Tuesday, December 5, 2017.  (Photo by Jerilee Bennett,  The Gazette)
Rampart's Xavier Johnson takes control of the ball while being guarded by Vista Ridge's Tristan Pratt (right to left) during the third quarter of a game. Rampart defeated Vista Ridge 56-47 at Rampart High School on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

It’s hard to miss Rampart’s not-so-secret weapon in 6-foot-9 Dawson Carper.

But the Rams have a new trick up their sleeve this year thanks to a transfer from Rocky Mountain.

Senior shooting guard Xavier Johnson transferred into the district this summer after moving in with his father. His parent-to-parent move and cooperation from his former school district allowed him to start playing for Rampart right away, instead of having to sit out for the first half of the season per state transfer rules.

And he's already making an impact.

Johnson's addition has rounded out what coach J’on St. Clair says is the best trio of guards in the city.

Through five games, Johnson, Carper and senior point guard Josh Kavalec average near 17 points  each, aiding the Rams to a 4-1 start averaging more than 68 total points per game. Although the trio has not played as a unit for long, the chemistry is clear on the court.

But it helps that Johnson is averaging 23 minutes and shooting 57 percent from the field.

“When you have three really good players it opens the door for you to do some good things,” St. Clair said. “And we have some key players who can work around them and do some things too.”

At Rocky Mountain, Johnson was a three-year varsity letter-winner and averaged 13.8 points  in his junior year. But besides his shooting, Johnson also has tremendous ball-handling skill and speed, which makes it easy for him to create scoring opportunities.

"He is a great addition to our team, he’s strong with the ball, and he shoots really well. I can’t say enough good things about him,” St. Clair said.

Johnson scored a season-high 22 points against Vista Ridge on Tuesday, and has scored below double figures just once so far this season.

“It’s been a lot of fun, the guys are very welcoming and I came right in and accepted my role,” Johnson said. “I came in knowing I had a great player in Dawson, and another great player in Josh. We came in knowing it was going to be us three leading the team and any one of us could go off on any night. It’s just a blessing to have those guys to come in to.”

On Thursday it was Kavalec’s turn to go off, scoring a career-high 24 points, all while shooting 90 percent from the field against Far Northeast.

Johnson said he’s excited to share the ball with players like Kavalec and Carper after coming from a program that did not have the “high-caliber players” that Rampart has this year.

“It’s a little different coming in and learning to share the ball and make things work with all three of us,” Johnson said. “We are going to be great together and we are going to be special toward the end of the season.”