Johnson surpasses 2,000 points, looks for championship
When you’re one of the best players in the greater Pittsburgh area, and a Division I commit, one would think that everything in your career would have come easy. The reality for East Allegheny superstar Amani Johnson is that she has worked extremely hard to earn all of her basketball success.
Johnson, a 5-foot-6 senior, is headed to Kennesaw State University to continue her academic and athletic career. Her desire to work hard at basketball started at an early age, as she began developing her game by doing drills with her father and attending clinics at the Wilmerding YMCA. By 3rd grade she was playing in the recreation league against the boys and continued to play against them until 9th grade. “Boys are faster and stronger, and always took it harder on me because I was a girl”, Johnson said.
Johnson normally stays after practice everyday for about 45 minutes to an hour to work on her shot. It is a sweet scoring touch that has helped her become one of the premier scorers in the Pittsburgh area, and put her in rarefied air when she eclipsed the 2,000 point barrier with a 35 point effort in a road win against Section 2 rival South Side Beaver on January 22nd.
“It feels great to be in such an elite club because so few people score 2000 points. It’s an amazing accomplishment. I thought 1,000 felt good, but 2,000 feels even better”, Johnson stated.
Despite being one of the premier players in the region, Johnson was not highly recruited at an early age. “The process was pretty weird for me, honestly”, she said. “I only had 3 offers coming out of my junior season of high school basketball.” As with any other basketball challenge she had taken on, Johnson just continued to work hard. “I feel like it made me work harder and I knew my time would come, and it did.”
Johnson played at a high level of AAU basketball with the prestigious WPA Bruins AAU program. By the time she got done playing in the last live recruiting period in July, she had gone from 3 to 15 scholarship offers. “The Bruins made sure we went to the best tournaments and are a big part of my basketball success,” Johnson said.
Johnson ended up choosing Kennesaw State University and coach Agnus Berenato. “I chose Kennesaw State because it was a school that had everything I wanted,” Johnson said. “The location, my major, and basketball. I loved the coaches, and their vision to turn the program around, and can’t wait to be a part of putting Kennesaw State on the map.”
First, she has some unfinished business with her high school teammates. East Allegheny will head into the WPIAL playoffs with an unblemished 22-0 record.
“Our ultimate goal for this season is to get to The Pete and win a WPIAL Championship.” Johnson said.
As the 3A #2 ranked team in The Dabbelt Report Pittsburgh Weekly Power Rankings, and state ranked #4 team, Johnson and her teammates have some loftier goals also.
“I think we can make a pretty good run in states this year too, but we’re taking everything one step at a time in order to stay focused.”
Regardless of what lies ahead for this Pittsburgh Feature Athlete, there is no doubt Amani Johnson will be working hard to go after all of her goals and dreams.