WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Hoggard High School's Xavier Johnson could excel at whatever sport he wanted to. As a freshman he played both football and basketball for the Vikings.
"I really loved football, but things just changed. Things happened and I just started to care about basketball, and I started to grow into my body, and I was better at basketball" said Johnson.
Johnson gave up football after his sophomore season to concentrate on basketball. It was a decision that played off.
"By far one of the most athletically gifted kids that we have had in the program in the 20 years that I have been at Hoggard" said head basketball coach Brett Queen.
His talents on the court landed him offers from Navy, East Carolina, and Coastal Carolina to play at the next level. But following graduation Johnson will be taking his talents to the Marines.
"My grandfather and uncle were both Marines, and it was something that I always wanted to do. So when the opportunity presented itself, I looked more into it and it was just the best fit for me," explained Johnson. "Seeing them grow up and certain things. And them in their dress blues up on the walls, it was always my passion to be that, and I wanted to be in that spot at one point in time."
The response from most has been positive, but not everyone has been so supportive.
"There was some backlash from enlisting. People would be like why and stuff like that. It doesn't really matter, because whatever I say or how I try to explain it there was just something inside of me that wanted to do it. There are no words to put to it," Johnson added.
Johnson says after high school, his playing days are done, but others are leaving the open for a return to the court.
"I have been told there are options for me after the four years to get back into basketball. But I just want to be a Marine."
Johnson will graduate from Hoggard on June 11. One month later, he will ship out to Parris Island, South Carolina for three months of boot camp.