Darien Johnson became the second Bear senior to ink a collegiate deal, signing with Lee University.
“He is an outstanding defender and a hard-nosed player,” declared Lee assistant coach Paul Cretton. “He’s an outstanding student and comes from a great family. We’re excited to have him.”
The son of former Flame Leroy Johnson and Von (Orr) Johnson, whose family has been synonymous with Bradley County sports for more than half a century, Darien’s hustle and defensive tenacity helped the Bears to a 48-16 record the past two seasons, plus a TSSAA substate berth in March.
“Darien has the ability to play lock-down, man-to-man defense against extremely good players,” coach Smith remarked. “He brings the same intensity to practice as he does to games. He has been a catalyst for our team and he will do the same for Lee. Working with coach Cretton on the junior varsity team for a year or two will help him develop other parts of his game and he should be able to help the varsity in time.”
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid to play for Lee,” expressed Johnson, who played at Ocoee Middle and three years of AAU ball before joining the Bradley program. “The tradition and program here (at BCHS) has prepared me for the college level.”
“This is an amazing opportunity for me,” said the former Lee summer camper. “I’ve worked hard on every part of my game. I feel like my defense carries over to my offense.”
The 5-foot-10 guard made 53 percent of his shots from the two-point area, plus dropped in 11 3-pointers in 28 games this past season, plus he led the team with an average of 2.4 assists per game and was second on the squad with 74 steals. He also battled for nearly three rebounds a game, while averaging 4.4 ppg this past season.
An honors graduate, Johnson also has impressive numbers in the classroom, posting a 3.89 grade point average, which currently ranks him 42nd in his graduating class of more than 400.