At Chaparral, our athletes are celebrated, especially those who take their high school achievement to a higher level. Very few talented players make the cut of the Varsity team rosters, even less can compete at the collegiate level, and the amount of professional athletes from Chap can be counted on two hands. Josh Adams is one of those players that has been able to live through moments many sports fans dream of. Numerous fans that saw him play in high school can’t equate his dominance to any other prep athlete. A game-winning tip for a state championship, an All-American honorable mention in college, and an emerging professional career in Russia, his talent has taken him places far beyond his hometown of Parker. Rob Johnson, his coach and longtime friend, still doesn’t believe what the former student has accomplished and where he may be in the future years.
Carson Frost: When and where did you meet Josh Adams? What was your first impression of him?
Rob Johnson: I was coaching the JV team when his brother Jordan was a freshman. Josh must’ve been a fifth-grader. He was quiet, but had a great family. I really got to know him his eighth grade year. He was playing Gold Crown (team that prepares athletes for high school ball), and I just remember he was very ferocious. Even in eighth grade, he had an edge to him.
CF: As he progressed, did Josh surprise you with his ability, or was his potential always there?
RJ: We always knew he had a high ceiling because he was so athletic. By the end of his sophomore year, he was taking off athletically. He kept doing things that made you say “Oh my gosh.” In his junior and senior years, he did some things that I have never seen before. His game wasn’t always polished, but I knew he could be a Division I player.
CF: Is he the greatest athlete you’ve seen at the high school level?
RJ: (brief pause) Yeah. I can’t think of one more athletic. One time, we were playing Lewis Palmer in our small gym, who had Josh Scott, who’s like 6’10”. (Scott) ended up playing at CU and the NBA Summer League and was a strong, athletic bigman. (Adams) took it down the middle and dunked it right on Josh Scott. It happened so fast, (Scott) didn’t even know what happened. He may be only 6’2”, but he just goes so fast and with an incredible intensity.
CF: Cory Calvert was another dominant player. Did he and Adams ever clash? How did you balance both of their skillsets so that they could both get touches?
RJ: The reason it worked was because they were different players. Cory is more of a playmaker, good ball-handler, good court vision, and a great passer. Josh was making the big plays and could take over when he needed to. Luckily, they’re both humble guys. Josh may have preferred to have the ball in his hands more, but Cory was just so skilled. It may have drove Josh crazy, but it’s tough as coach.
CF: The defining moment in Adam’s career may be the putback layup at the buzzer to win the state championship. What did that play tell you about who Josh is as a player?
RJ: That play summed up everything Josh is about as a person. He just wants to win. You could even go back to the first playoff game that year against Dakota Ridge. We were down by ten points with two and a half minutes to go in the game, called a timeout, and Josh just took over the huddle. He told everybody that this wasn’t how he wanted to end the season and gave everything he had to help us comeback. That play in the state title showed his determination and attitude. (Calvert) missed the shot, but he was fine with that because Josh was there to pick it up.
CF: This past summer, Josh played in the NBA Summer League for the Denver Nuggets. He seemed to play very well, given the amount of opportunities the team game him. Do you feel that he will play in the NBA one day?
RJ: Absolutely. He has the athletic ability to do it, and he has that mental strength to go with it. His will, his determination, and his killer mentality will get him there.
The Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers were among the NBA teams that expressed their interest in Adams. While he didn’t receive a contract for these clubs this summer, an opportunity awaits in Russia, where he will begin his first professional season. Josh Adams has always been underestimated, but when a fatal car accident in August led doctors to believe his athleticism may never be the same, he once again proved the doubters wrong. Not only did he return six months ahead of schedule on January 14, but he was named MVP of the game by the Russian media. Moving forward, the NBA is still on his radar, and as proven throughout the duration of his career, someone is always watching.
By Carson Frost