Helena Magazine

Sports Q&A: Ian Johnigan talks basketball and plans for the future

Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Ian Johnigan, a Helena High School senior and basketball player, discusses his love of the sport of basketball and his plans for the future in this month’s sports Q&A.

How did you first get into basketball?

I first started playing basketball back in 3rd grade. Although it has been a part of my life since I can remember. I was always surrounded by it with my father and when he would coach men’s leagues

Who has been the most influential person to you in your journey with the sport?

The most influential person in my basketball has been Coach Keon Williams. He was my coach when I played at Hoover High School in 9th grade. He really showed me what it means for a coach to believe in you and push you. He would tell me “I know you can do better than that”, I didn’t understand it at the time but it showed me that he knew that I had something more in me but at the same time he encouraged me and let me play my game

What’s been your most memorable experience in basketball so far?

My most memorable experience would have to be the first game of my Helena High School career. I moved to Helena in 2021. The first game of the season I came out on fire and had over 20 points. It really boosted my confidence as a player overall

Do you believe that your playing style has evolved over your high school career?

I think that at the beginning of my high school career I was a definite catch and shoot type of player. I feel as though over the past few years I have moved my game to more of an overall type of player who can shoot high percentage from beyond the arch but can also create shots and get to the free throw line as well.

What lessons have you learned from basketball that you’ll carry with you beyond high school?

I will definitely take with me that remaining positive and believing in yourself is the best thing that you can do. This is far beyond basektball because in regular, everyday life, if you do not believe in your own self, no one else can for you. Also remaining positive even when things are not going how you think they should or how you think they should. Remaining positive will trick your brain into thinking that you can do it even when odds are stacked against you

Do you have any professional players that you look up to or attempt to model your game after?

I definitely model my game after Klay Thompson. I have always watched him growing up. He was behind the spot light of Steph Curry but when you take a look at his job for the team and what he brings to the team its amazing. He is the best pure shooter that has played the game. He is not to fancy with what he does but he gets payed alot of money to make shots.

How do you manage your balance between academics and your commitment to the sport?

I really just have learned over the years how to manage time. I have a lot of things going on in my life and things that could get put off for other things but I try not to procrastinate with things that I need to do. School comes first because you cannot be a great athlete with poor grades

Both on and off the court, what are your goals for your senior year?

My main goal is to enjoy every moment of it. Even when its not going as I hope, still having fun is the biggest thing I look for. Points and highlights are cool and everything but if your not having fun then it’s not fun

Do you have any plans or desire moving forward to play college basketball?

I definitely do have desires of playing basketball in college. I am leaving that up to God to see what he wants me to do with my life and the plan he has for me. If I do not go the path of college basketball, I am planning to run my business full time while becoming a firefighter

What advice would you give to upcoming players and those joining the team next year?

It’s never as easy as it seems. All the glitz and glimmer of highlight tapes and cool dunks and everything don’t just come overnight. Also, what you think is “good”, maybe someone else’s “average”. Basketball is really competitive, especially in highschool and college. You have to find someone that you want to strive to be and research what they do for workouts and in their “free time”. You have to be obsessed with the grind, or you will never be the player you want to be

What has been the most challenging aspect of the game in your opinion? and what have you done to work toward overcoming it?

The most challenging part is definitely playing for coaches that do not think the same as me or are not open to change. When you think as a player that something should be changed to benefit you or your teammates and the coach is not open to that, its really hard to fight through. I have tried to just play my game, know what I can do to help the team and be successful

Outside of basketball, what are your main interests and hobbies?

I really enjoy landscaping. I own my own business for that and have a good clientele. I also enjoy photography and videography. I video for the football team when I can.