Jahmal Johnson will soon transition from high school to college level basketball.
The 6-foot-6 Cleveland senior has made the decision to play for Wabash Valley College, located in Mount Carmel, Ill.
“I had a lot of help from Coach (Raiders assistant coach) Tucker. He’s really influenced a lot of my basketball decisions. I just went up there on a visit not too long ago and I really liked the guys and the coaches and the way they ran things up there,” Johnson said.
Johnson was a part of the Raiders team that made it to the Region 3-AAA semifinals, only to see their season end after a loss to Bradley Central.
During the season, head coach Jason McCowan was impressed with the progress he saw Johnson make.
“He was playing really hard, and was playing more for his teammates than he was playing for himself. He was averaging around 15 points and 12 rebounds toward the end of the year,” McCowan said. “At Cumberland County he put us on his back and just did everything for us. It was nice to see him do that toward the end of the year and [him] being able to carry us the way that he did.”
McCowan believes Johnson will be a good fit at Wabash Valley.
“I think Jahmal will do really well. Based on the way he was progressing toward the end of the year his ceiling is a little higher than I even thought that it was. He just played really well for us ... “They’re going to get a really good player.”
During his time with the Raiders, Johnson enjoyed the relationships he built with many different people and also liked that he was able to help influence and build up his younger teammates’ skills for next year’s season.
The towering senior is poised and ready to help make an impact on his new Warrior team.
“I’m a very good driver and I get to the basket very easy. If they get a height advantage on me, I just take it to the basket. I’m kind of a perimeter shooter sometimes.”
For Johnson and McCowan, playing for Wabash is the next logical step in the development of his basketball skills and career.
“We’re hoping that this is a way for him to eventually get to UT-Martin. They really like him and have a big interest in him and have a good relationship with Wabash,” McCowan stated. “He’ll get a little bit of experience and get the academic stuff taken care of at Wabash and then hopefully go on to somewhere like UT-Martin.”