Weekly Feature

2018-11-29 / Sports

Johnson’s status unknown; currently deemed ineligible


If you read the main story on West Seneca West’s boys basketball team first, you’re probably wondering why Juston Johnson, one of the premier players in Western New York, wasn’t mentioned.

That’s because his eligibility status for what should be his senior season remained under review as The Bee headed to press.

West head coach Des Randall, who is also Johnson’s brother, noted that Johnson had been ruled ineligible for the 2018-19 season prior to the start of the season, but that Johnson and his family were anticipating getting a ruling on their appeal of that decision later this week or early next week, if they hadn’t already gotten that decision before The Bee went to press.

“The family is going through the appeal process right now and is waiting on the decision,” Randall said Monday. “We’re not saying by any means that we’re going to win this case, but we’re optimistic about our chances.”

To say that Johnson, a 6-foot point guard, was a big part of West’s success last winter would be a gross understatement. The Third Team Class A All-State, First Team All-WNY and First Team All-Bee all-star netted a school single-season record 618 points (24.7 per game) and also paced West with both 188 assists (7.5) and 84 steals (3.4).

The reigning ECIC I Player of the Year also notched four triple-doubles, scored a school single game record 43 points in the Class A title-game win over South Park, and finished the season ahead of Randall (1,023 points) in West’s all-time annals.

Needless to say, the Indians — who are ready to proceed with or without Johnson on the court — will be a much deadlier club than they already should be this season if Johnson is ultimately cleared to play.

“We feel like Juston is ready to have as good of a season, if not a better season, than he did last year with all of the work he put in over the summer,” Randall said. “With everything that he did for us last year, coupled with all of his offseason work and summer play, his game has really matured. He really looked, during our summer and fall leagues, like the guy who had all that success that he did last year. He was out there playing hard, but he wasn’t looking like he was working hard.”

Future developments on Johnson’s eligibility status will be reported as they happen.

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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