Thursday, July 26, 2007
SCSU signs JUCO player of the year
By THOMAS GRANT JR.
T&D Senior Sports Writer
It was 10 years ago that South Carolina State signed a highly-touted junior college guard from the Bronx, NY in Tyler Brown.
As one half of the “Killa Bs” backcourt with Rod Blakney, Brown played a major role in helping the Bulldogs win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament and advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
A decade later, SCSU has again found a prized junior college prospect from the New York borough in 6-foot-8-inch junior college All-American forward Jason Johnson of Sullivan County Community College.
“I’m obviously excited and happy to get Jason,” new SCSU mens' basketball coach Tim Carter said. “It’s not often you sign an All-American.”
The Bronx native arrives to Orangeburg highly-decorated as he was named the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division III and Region XV Player of the Year. He was a first-team All-American after leading the Generals to a perfect 32-0 record and their fourth national championship.
Johnson averaged a team-high 21.7 points per game and led Division III in rebounds at 14.5 points per game. His 67.6 percent field goal percentage ranked third, and his efforts helped Sullivan County become just the fourth NJCAA Division III team to finish the season undefeated.
Despite interest from larger Division I schools, SCSU assistant coach Henry “Hank” Harris was able to convince Johnson he would be a good fit for the Bulldogs.
“Hank really felt like number one, he was athletic, number two, he had size and strength, and number three, his experience,” Carter said.
Johnson’s signing comes on the heels of SCSU picking up S.C. High School League Class 3-A Player of the Year guard Carrio Bennett. Along with fellow newcomers point guard Jesse Burton, shooting guard Wesley Telfare and forward Everett Spencer to go with returning players Jason Flagler, guard Derrick Davis and forwards Julius Carter and Chris Miller-Williams, Carter said he is very comfortable with the roster he’ll bring into ‘battle’ next season.