November 9, 2006

Johnson inks with Texas

The Aldine Campbell Center has been the venue for some great performances by Aldine forward Gary Johnson the last couple of years. There have been numerous 30-point games, a few 20 rebound games and a triple-double or two. On Monday at 1 p.m. Johnson eclipsed any dominant game he has played on the Campbell Center floor.

All of the hard work when fans were not around came to fruition Monday afternoon when Johnson put the pen to the national letter of intent, signing with the Texas Longhorns.

Johnson was fresh off of an athletic period workout at Aldine High. He walked into the Campbell Center with the serious look one can see before and during a Mustang basketball game. Seemingly looking ready for the 5A-region III tournament, Johnson sat down at the table where he was to sign his letter of intent. The serious look Johnson had should have come as no surprise as the 6-foot-6 forward attacks the game of basketball and all it entails with a serious, but passionate attitude.

After the letter was signed, a smile broke through after some ribbing from spectators. Whether it was a sense of relief after the intense pressure of his recruitment or the realization of a dream, Johnson had the look of a proud young man.

After gathering for some pictures with family, Aldine head coach Zeke Smith, Houston Hoops founder Hal Pastner and former NBA player and coach John Lucas; Johnson took the time to answer a few questions.

What are your thoughts on Coach Barnes and the relationship you guys have formed?

He's a really down to earth coach. Sometimes you think he is 18. I felt like I had grown close to him since the first time I met him.

A lot of the big time players from this area have gone out of state. Was there a combination of the program being strong and close to home that was the deciding factor?

We're trying to keep all of the players from the south in the south. Texas is always known as a football school, but we are just trying to even it out and let everyone know that there is great talent in the state of Texas in basketball as well.

You have accomplished a lot in the last few years. What are the goals this year?

The expectations are really high this year. Of course, we expect a state championship and hopefully that is what we get in the end.

Have you played against the other two players that will sign with Texas today in Clint Chapman and Alexis Wangmene?

I don't remember playing against either of them. I'm looking forward to being teammates though.

You have seen Alexis Wangmene play, what are your thoughts on him as a player?

He's going to benefit me a lot. He has a ton of upside and I think he is going to be a stud at Texas.

When you watch Texas, what is it that you can bring to the Longhorn program?

Intensity and heart. A lot of the guys are primarily offensive players, so hopefully I can bring defense and win a national championship.

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