First Presbyterian Christian Academy Highlander Jordan Johnson’s ability to sink the trey shot from mid-court earned him the nickname J-Bird.
Thursday afternoon, J-Bird soared to new heights by joining the East Georgia College basketball team. Johnson signed his letter of intent at FPCA’s media center.
Johnson’s career on the hardwood started early. He began playing basketball in the Liberty County Recreation Department when he was 8.
By the time he hit high school, Johnson’s skills were so tuned that then-Bradwell Institute coach David Jones quickly put him in to play as a ninth grader.
“Jordan is only one of two players who actually started for me while still a ninth grader,” said Jones, who is currently the athletic director and head basketball coach at FPCA. “He shot the ball well and played good defense and it was his defensive game that got him playing time, not just his shooting ability.”
Jones was reunited with Johnson and former Tiger DJ Felder when the pair transferred to FPCA two years ago. Felder signed a letter of intent last week to St. John’s River College.
“One thing that I wanted to do was to see those two go off to college,” Jones said. “It was a commitment I made to them and their family and I’m very grateful this day has occurred.”
Johnson was a big part of last year’s state championship team. This year, he averaged 22.8 points per game and scored 456 points.
His mother, Felicia, said the transition from Bradwell to FPCA was a bit hard at first.
“But it changed the way he looked at everything,” she said. “It’s awesome and a great opportunity for him.”
“I’ve been waiting for this day since the day (he was born),” his uncle, Andre Henderson, said. “Jordan has really been a student of life. He has seen so much around him and other people’s failures and he learned from that instead of falling down the same path. All his uncles and cousins, they all played basketball but a few of them went down the wrong path. Jordan saw that and he didn’t go down that path. He chose the straight and narrow path and I appreciate that so much.”
“He deserves this day because he put so much forth and effort into it,” said Warren Black, also an uncle of Johnson’s. “It’s great to see him sign and move on to the next level. He is very quiet and very attentive to detail and a very encouraging person. He is moving forward on a goal he had and I’m very proud of this day.”
Johnson will be joining several former players from the area. East Georgia coach Neil Bailey signed former Liberty County High School player Lamar Richardson last year and has recruited area players in the past — including Lazaruss Baggs, Dana King Jr., Terrell Johnson, Derek Nesbit and Andre Holliday.
“It gives me an opportunity to play at the next level and see where my skills can take me,” Johnson said. “I’ve already talked to a few players who play there now and I think I’ll fit well in their system. I believe that I can work hard enough to make my team successful and help take me to the next level.”
Johnson said he plans to study business management and called the signing his proudest moment as a Highlander.
“He is a good ball handler and a great shooter,” Bailey said of his new recruit. “Defensively, I think he can cause a lot of problems in our league. He is a true guard, he can do a little bit of everything…I think he can give us a lot right off the bat and we are so excited to have him. He caps off a great recruiting class for us this year.”
“Jordan fits that bill,” Jones said about being a true guard. “He sees the floor well and can play defense and he is as competitive as any kid you can ever coach. He never believes in losing and never gives up.”
“Keep God first and keep focused and the sky is the limit,” Johnson’s mother said.