Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Avery Johnson Jr., son of former Mavs head coach, signs with Texas A&M
Avery Johnson Jr. played just one year at Plano West. It had a huge impact on both.
Johnson signed a national letter-of-intent with Texas A&M just a week after the 5-9 guard received a formal offer - in large part to his progress through his senior season at West.
“I was down at A&M when they played Alabama (in September) and I met people and was around the school,” Johnson said. “But it wasn’t anything like the official visit. The coaches really wanted me. I got the tour and Coach (Bill) Kennedy offered and said I could take a few days to think about it. But I loved the school. It’s a big school like Plano West. Big football. Big basketball. It’s in the SEC. I was with my dad. We talked. There was no reason to wait.”
Johnson’s dad is former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson, who was one of the few who wasn’t able to attend Johnson’s signing ceremony before a packed meeting room before school at West. Johnson had to leave for an NBA broadcasting commitment Wednesday with ESPN.
Johnson signed along with a pair of West girls basketball players (Azia Lacy and Kaelin Domingeaux) and softball player Kelsey Vining. Dozens of students, parents and coaches had cupcakes and doughnuts. Johnson’s mother Cassandra got the task of filling out all the formal paperwork before faxing it off to A&M.
Johnson Jr. transferred to West from Houston John Cooper following his junior year. He transitioned well into a West program which is stocked full of major college prospects for the Class of 2015 including Mickey Mitchell (already committed to Ohio State), D.J. Hogg and Soso Jamabo, who were all attending the ceremony before each will be signing with a major college next year.
“There was some shock coming to a school this size,” West coach Anthony Morgan said. “There was a transition. But, in our first tournament, we ended up reaching the final in Houston and losing to (eventual 5A state champ) North Shore. But Avery started to put it together. I knew from there we could take off.”
Johnson Jr. improved throughout the West season with crucial 3-point baskets, a fearless drive toward the basket against much bigger opponents and taking a galvanizing leadership role. West won the District 10-5A title and advanced to the 5A regional quarterfinals before being ousted by Richardson Berkner.
Johnson had displayed talent playing for the Texas Titans in AAU summer competition but the Titans coach Scott Pospichal said the season at West changed Johnson’s recruiting trajectory. Johnson was getting interest from SMU and canceled a planned trip to Maryland after committing to A&M.
“He was the type of kid that as a freshman and sophomore you looked at and said, “I don’t know,’” Pospichal said. “But this year, I like to say, his athleticism and his skills met each other. If he were a junior right now, his recruiting would really be getting hot. But he’s a senior and A&M got a player who, in a couple years from now, people are going to see him and wonder how they got him so late.”