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West Point-bound Panther seeks spot on team

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 13, 2003

LECANTO -- Scotty Johnson is headed to West Point.

The only question is whether he will be going as a student or a student-athlete.

The Lecanto senior recently received an appointment to the school and has sent videotape to basketball coach Jim Crews with the hopes of getting an invitation to play for the Black Knights.

"I want to be a part of their basketball program," Johnson said. "I feel pretty good about it.

"If nothing comes of it now, I'll try to walk on. I'm definitely going to make myself part of that program. I'm very excited."

Johnson also looked at Florida Southern, Miami, Southern Illinois and Texas Tech.

The 6-foot-6 Johnson averaged 12 points and six rebounds last season at power forward and was a Times All-Citrus/Hernando honorable-mention all-area pick. He split time at center the previous season at Citrus, and was an integral part of the Hurricanes' district championship squad.

Why West Point?

"That was my first choice, because of what I'm going to get out of it in the end," Johnson said. "It's going to help me with everything.

"I can take discipline well. I won't have any problem with people telling me what to do. That's what you do in school. People tell you what to do and you do it."

Johnson began the lengthy application process about a year ago, he said. Before applying, he had to take medical tests and a physical test. He has a 4.2 weighted GPA.

Former congressman Karen Thurman helped by nominating him to a local selection committee after Johnson and his family informed her of his interest in attending the school.

Johnson's acceptance letter arrived last week. "I was surprised, but I knew I had the ability to get in there," he said.

"Obviously, we're excited about it," said Brent Johnson, his father. "It's a leadership experience for him."

A family friend contacted Crews and told the coach of Scotty Johnson's desire to play. Crews then requested to see tape.

"I'm hoping they give me an offer to look at me; that's all I'd ask for," Johnson said. "From there, I know I could show them what I have.

"I have a lot of confidence in myself. I've done a lot fo get here. I was cut from the Citrus junior varsity as a freshman. I couldn't even make the JV, and look where I'm at now."

The Black Knights went 5-22 last season. They play in the Patriot League.

Johnson leaves for the New York-based school in June.

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