Basketball is a game where talent will only get one so far. To be able advance to the top of the game as the talent level increases, the desire level must increase as well.
When Jordan Johnson began his career with the Coastal Crew Rebels, he spent countless hours shooting at the baskets of St. James Sports Center, hoping his ability and love of the game would allow him to keep playing.
The sixth- and eighth-grade Coastal Crew Rebels at the center recently heard from Johnson, now a player at Tennessee Tech University, about basketball and life.
“Coming up as a playing with the Rebels was a good experience,” Johnson said. “Being around good coaches and good teammates really help me define my game. They pushed me every day at practice and looked at me as a leader and that helped me develop my character. Playing as a Rebel was a humbling experience we played with some of the players in the country and that always made me want to become a great player and be on the same level as them. But even more important I learned to keep God first in everything. He is the reason that I have the ability to play the game.”
Not long ago, Johnson was playing with the younger Coastal Crew Rebel basketball teams before becoming an outstanding point guard first for Bradwell Institute and later at First Presbyterian Christian Academy.
“I played for the Rebels for five years, and coach David (Linderman) really molded my game. He knew the potential I had and he always let me play my game. He is one of the best guys I’ve been around. I really appreciate the staff of the Rebels guiding me into the right direction.”
The St. James Sports Center was like a second home to him during his time with the Rebels and the FPCA Highlanders.
“Jordan Johnson was a great floor general for the Rebels and FPCA,” said Ernie Walthour Jr., Coastal Crew Rebels CEO and FPCA boys’ basketball head coach. “I am so proud of the leadership he has shown while playing at the college level. It was great to see him talk with the younger Rebels players about keeping their grades up, staying drug free, and putting God first in all things.”
While at FPCA, Johnson helped lead the Highlanders to a Georgia Independent School Association state title and two region titles. Individually, he was named a GISA All-State basketball player.
He received a scholarship from East Georgia College in Swainsboro, where he got to play with two of best friends, D.J. Felder and Treyshawn Haygood. Johnson described his time at East Georgia as a rollercoaster.
“My freshman season was really as good as I planned. I was playing point guard and was in for a new experience,” he said. “But at the same time I was seeing how good I could I could be, so I just stayed in the lab (gym) and in the weight room every day, working on my craft trying to be the best player I can be, and it gave me confidence on the court. My freshman year was really a stepping stone for my sophomore year.” Despite a solid freshman year, Johnson wasn’t really on the radar of many Division I schools until a big performance in the first regular-season game of his sophomore year.
“I was almost ready to give up and go to the military, honestly, but I had good people around me supporting me to,” he said. “My sophomore season was my breakout year. The first game of the regular season, I scored 31 points and they really established what type of player I can be. And then after that, it kind of took off and played to my potential, and that’s when I was hearing from more than 20 Division I schools. It was almost surreal because I used to shoot 1,000 jump shots a day, wondering would it ever pay off.”
Johnson’s sophomore accolades included conference player of the year this season, national player of the week and being named a junior-college All-American. In the postseason, Johnson led East Georgia to the Elite 8 and became the program’s all-time leading scorer.
Jordan has received a basketball scholarship to Division I Tennessee Tech.
“His mother, Felicia Johnson, has done such a great job raising a remarkable young man like Jordan,” Walthour said. “In the coming week, I will be retiring his uniform number at St. James.”