by Scott Kindberg
March 25, 1994
Four Year Appointment
Justin Johnson’s decision to choose West Point as his basketball and academic home for the next four years was made easier after his parents- Bob and Dori- talked with Army coach Dino Gaudio during his campus visit last fall.
“One think I promise you, forgetting everything else, you are loaning me the most important thing in your life, your son, and I promise I’ll take care of him,” Bob Johnson recalled Gaudio telling him last fall. “That meant a lot to us.”
Justin Johnson received a congressional appointment - one of only 1,000 nationally - from Amo Houghton and will leave for West Point June 26, two days after he graduates from Jamestown High School.
“It’s kind of come faster than I thought it would,” Johnson said. “It’s not too far now. Back in November, it seemed far away.”
But a lot has happened to the 6-foot 8 senior since he made his decision last November. For not only did Johnson break just about every scoring record in school history, but he also established himself as one of Western New York’s best players, averaging 30 points and 10 rebounds a game.
Ron DeCarli, a family friend and former St. Bonaventure basketball coach calls Johnson a “real commodity.”
“He’s just at the tip of the iceberg right now,” DeCarli said. “He’s going to be able to have a future in a program that is going to utilize his talent and his abilities…That’s what excites me.”
DeCarli assisted the Johnsons during Justin’s recruitment, helping them screen coaches and programs.
“Basketball is a very important part of his life and he wants to be sure he enjoys that,” DeCarli said. “He wanted to find a coaching staff where he was going to have consistency and going to have a staff there for four years. This is ideal.”
West Point’s strong commitment to academics, combined with its desire to improve its basketball program, made it the right choice for, Johnson, who ranked fourth in a class of 310.
“He’s going to be able to write his own ticket because that basketball is going to be an instrument,” DeCarli said. “He’ll meet a lot of people; make a lot of great contacts… (Society) is so sports-oriented and, because of that, Justin’s going to be able to use that vehicle to his advantage.
The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.