Center to sign with BSU
First-year coach Matt Bowen is wasting little time rebuilding a program. Bemidji State men's basketball landed another prize recruit Thursday when 6-foot-10 center Jimmy Johnson of Andover verbally committed to attend BSU and play basketball for ...
First-year coach Matt Bowen is wasting little time rebuilding a program.
Bemidji State men's basketball landed another prize recruit Thursday when 6-foot-10 center Jimmy Johnson of Andover verbally committed to attend BSU and play basketball for the Beavers next season.
Johnson's commitment comes one day after Cass Lake-Bena star Brady Fairbanks verbally committed to BSU, increasing the talent level of Bowen's first-ever recruiting class.
The first day for high school seniors to officially sign a National Letter of Intent to play basketball is April 11 and due to NCAA rules Bowen can't comment on recruits until they have signed a NLI.
Though the first day to sign on the dotted line is two months away, Johnson said the choice was easy, especially after Fairbanks' announcement.
"The commitment by Brady Fairbanks kind of sealed the deal because I know how good of a player he is and I think we can be an instant combo that will dominate," said Johnson who also liked the BSU coaching staff. "The coaches did a real good job of recruiting me over the summer and over this season."
It will be a reunion of sorts on the gym floor next season as Johnson and Fairbanks played together for Minnesota Glory during AAU basketball two years ago.
Johnson averages 11.3 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, 1.8 blocks per game and 2.1 assists per game for Andover who is 13-6 so far this season.
"We kind of run our entire offense around him," said Andover head coach Tim Feine. "He's a good presence not only scoring but also on defense; he's got a knack for blocking shots and rebounding the ball."
I wasn't just BSU that noticed his knack.
Johnson said he also took official visits to NCAA Division I schools North Dakota State and Belmont University in addition to fellow DII schools Minnesota State University-Moorhead, St. Cloud State, University of Alabama-Huntsville, and Northern State. He said he had offers on the table from MSUM, NSU and UAH.
It's easy to see why he's received the attention he has. The 225 pounder has started for the Huskies the past two seasons during which he earned two All-Northwest Suburban Conference honors. He was also a key figure in helping the Huskies make the state tournament the past two seasons where they took fourth in the 2005 tourney.
It is his physical presence under the basket that Johnson has built his game around and he said BSU's coaching staff doesn't want him to change any part of his game.
"I'm a big presence in the middle and have good passing skills," Johnson said. "I also have a lot of heart and love the game."
Not only was Johnson impressed with the coaching staff's straight-forward attitude, he said he also liked the Bemidji community and BSU's campus.
"I like how the campus is right on the lake; I'll be able to go fishing a lot," he said, "and I liked all the people that I met."
It's safe to say that those he met on his visit to Bemidji felt the same.
"He's a great kid and a great student," Feine said of Johnson who carries a 3.2 GPA. "He's one of those kids that everybody likes and knows in the school.
"When your 6-10 and you're a nice kid everybody seems to be attracted to you."
Johnson said he knows of a few other players that are attracted to BSU and strongly considering committing to the Green and White.
If that happens, not only will Bowen have built a strong base for the program but the final product will have the look of a national contender.