While he’s not the tallest person on the squad, what Liberty County Panther basketball player Terrell Johnson lacks in size, he made up for with hard work and an aggressive playing style as a forward.
And the hard work was noticed. The senior signed a scholarship to play next school year as a Jaguar at Lawson State in Birmingham, Ala.
The Philadelphia-born Johnson said the thought of attending college ran across his mind occasionally, but having it come true was incredible.
"It’s an opportunity for me," he said. "When I went up to the campus it seemed like a nice place and good fit for myself."
Johnson, who plans to study business management, said the folks at Lawson were polite and welcoming.
"The main thing is that I’ll be getting my education," he said. "I feel good going there. It’s an opportunity and I’m going to run with it all the way and get as far as I can with it."
Panther coach Willie Graham said it was good to see one of his players sign a scholarship.
"It always feels good to have one of our young men sign and get a higher education," he said. "Basketball afforded him that opportunity and that is great. I’m hoping he uses it for what it is, an opportunity for him to go ahead and get a higher education and get a degree."
Graham said if Johnson shows the work ethic and aggressiveness to succeed in the classroom like he does on the court he will have a bright future.
LCHS athletic director Warnella Wilder said hard work is nothing new to Johnson.
"I knew from seeing Terrell play the first time here at LCHS that he has always been a hard worker," she said. "Anytime he was on the floor he always stood out. He may have been small in stature but he certainly played with a lot of aggression and I’m happy for him.
"It’s really not how big you are and you don’t have to be the one that scores 20 something points a game or be the ‘standout player’ on the team. If you work hard and give 110 percent every time you step on the floor then you get good things and luckily for Terrell he’s had that work ethic since day one."
"He is one of the hardest working kids I know," South Georgia Kings president Jessie Fleming said. "Terrell is going to give you 110. If you can get 10 kids with his work ethics you would have a really good squad."
Fleming said he’s known Johnson since he was about 11 when he started recreation department play. Johnson later joined the AAU Kings’ organization when he was in the seventh grade.
"He’s always been the beast of our younger crew," Fleming said. "One time I had the kids write me a letter on their character, or who they felt they were in basketball. He wrote me a letter when he was 13 that said he was a kid that rebounded with men. And he proved that in all these years running up and down the court in AAU."
Family members also said Johnson has worked at his sport.
"It’s wonderful it’s truly a godsend," Johnson’s mother Gloria Cook said. "That is something he wanted to do and I wanted him to do. You know be someone productive. Go to school and get an education that’s all I asked of him and everything will fall in place. God is awesome because He has brought me a mighty long way and I just want success for my children."