SU to honor Avery Johnson
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Saturday, February 2, 2013 18:02
Southern University will honor the playing career of former Jaguar basketball alum and NBA head coach Avery Johnson in a court naming ceremony Feb. 2 in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
The ceremony will take place during halftime of the men's basketball game against Grambling State, the game will be televised live on Cox Sports Television (Ch-37, HD Ch-1037).
“Its been a long time coming I think its something that’s past overdue,” men’s head basketball coach Roman Banks said. “ Your talking about one of our most celebrant athletes as it relates to this day in time and still have the marque name and was a great fish into the basketball program.
Johnson, a New Orleans native, spent his last two season of eligibility at Southern University averaging 9.2 points a game but it was his playmaking that made him a house hold name on the bluff.
Johnson first couple of months on campus was horrible he said, but that all changed when Johnson participated in a scrimmage between the junior varsity which he was on and the varsity squad.
“There was no question after those two scrimmage who the best man on campus was,” Johnson said. “After Ben Jobe came in as coach the next year it was like a Disney Movie.”
Johnson went on to averaged 10.7 assist in 1986-87 and 13.3 assist in 1987-88, leading all NCAA Division I players both years.
The southern point guard compiled a career assist average of 8.97 per game, which is an all-time Division I record, if that’s not enough he also set an NCAA record for assist in a game with 22 against Texas Southern on January 25, 1988 and was the Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year and MVP of the conference tournament both seasons.
“To do what I did especially from an assist stand point and still having the record that I have that stands today you got to have guys that can catch and shoot and that can play above the rim.” Johnson said.
Johnson’s pro career started in 1988 first playing in the United States Basketball League and then moving on to play for several NBA teams but the highlight of his playing career was his second stint with the San Antonio Spurs.
He became the starting Point guard and was keyed the nickname the “Little General” directing the Spurs to their first NBA championship in 2000.
Johnson then transition from a player to coaching, receiving his first head-coaching gig in 2005 coaching the Dallas Mavericks.
The first year head coach saw major success reaching a 50-12 record, making him the fastest coach to reach 50 wins, along with that Johnson led the Mavericks to their first NBA finals appearance, and in April 2006 Johnson was rewarded the NBA Coach of the Year Award.
And on Saturday will cap the collegiate playing career for Avery Johnson, a man who dominated the SWAC as well as the college basketball world, and now the same court he dominated on will now have his name on it.
Southern has also deemed Grambling game on Feb. 2 as "Alumni Night" and encourages alumni from both Southern and Grambling to attend. Tickets are available at the SU ticket office and are $7 for general admission.