January 2, 2007

Future Horn dominates tournament

Aldine power forward Gary Johnson played in his fourth and final Academy National Invitational tournament December 28-30. Johnson put together a dominant three game stretch and took home the first place trophy in the Texas division for the first time in four tries. The future Texas Longhorn has the Aldine Mustangs ranked number two in the Houston area with a 15-1 record.

Johnson is a name everyone knows that has attended the Academy National Invitational tournament the last four years. Johnson played in the ANI in 2003 as a freshman averaging 9.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and one block a game. As a young pup, one could easily see the type of player that Johnson would become.

December 28-30 was a three-day showcase of what the 6-7, 220-pound power forward has become. Johnson put together three dominant games in the three-day event, but winning the Texas division goal was the title and Johnson reached his goal with wins over The Woodlands (79-53), Strake Jesuit (67-62) and Klein Collins (65-49).

In the win over The Woodlands, Johnson played one his best offensive games of his young career. The future Longhorn scored 31 points on an efficient 13 of 17 from the field including one of two from three. He added 12 rebounds; two blocks, two assists and one steal for a dominant all-around game.

Up next was a contest against a young, but talented Strake Jesuit team. Strake Jesuit would prove to be a tough out for the Mustangs (15-1), but the physical presence of Johnson proved to be too much. Johnson scored 20 points, pulled down a season-high 20 rebounds and blocked two shots in the five-point win. It was a game in which Johnson showed every facet of his game that has made him a McDonald's All-American candidate.

Johnson showed his very good footwork on the offensive end with numerous spins and quick pivots to score over a Strake Jesuit defender. His physical presence showed up on the defensive end sometimes taking on two or three Jesuit players for rebounds.

The championship of the ANI Texas division featured a quick Klein Collins team that features junior point guard Demetri Goodson. The Mustangs were ready and came out of the gates quickly building a double-digit lead they would never surrender. Johnson made his last career game at the ANI a memorable one scoring 24 points, pulling down 13 rebounds and blocking two shots. Johnson hit six of seven free throws to go with 9-13 field goals.

It was another game in which Johnson flashed his skill set. The 6-7 forward ran the floor well the entire game, brought his physical style of play from the opening tip and again showed his very good footwork in the post and getting position to grab rebounds.

Johnson averaged 25 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and one assist in the three games. He converted 29 of 44 field goals, 1-2 three pointers and 16 of 24 free throws.

The Texas division title wrapped up a four run by Johnson of dominance in which the Houston area star averaged 20.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 12 games.

Johnson averaged 26.6 points and 7.6 rebounds as a junior and 21 points and seven rebounds as a sophomore in the ANI.

Johnson and his Mustangs teammates will now turn their attention to winning the district 19-5A crown.

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