TJC's Johnson inks with La. Tech

Tyler Junior College basketball standout Jaron Johnson signed with Louisiana Tech on Tuesday at Wagstaff Gymnasium. Pictured (from left) are father Michael Johnson, Jaron Johnson, mother Cynthia Melontree Johnson and borther Justin Johnson, also a former TJC and Iowa standout. (Staff Photo By Phil Hicks)

After looking at a number of colleges, Tyler Junior College basketball standout Jaron Johnson decided Louisiana Tech was the place for him.

The 6-6 sophomore signed with the Ruston, La., school during a ceremony on Tuesday in the foyer of Wagstaff Gymnasium.

“I felt like Louisiana Tech was a perfect fit for me,” Johnson said. “The coaches and everyone made me feel wanted on my visit. I also like the school, the facilities and how everybody graduates in four years from the program.”

Johnson, who is majoring in Kinesiology, said TJC helped him prepare for the next level, both on the court and in the classroom.

TJC coach Mike Marquis was happy for Johnson.

“Obviously, we’re excited for Jaron and this opportunity with Louisiana Tech,” TJC coach Mike Marquis said. “Louisiana Tech has a great young and enthusiastic staff. It is a great fit for both parties.”

Louisiana Tech is a member of the Western Athletic Conference and coached by Michael White, a former Mississippi assistant.

“Jaron is a big-league athlete with tremendous upside,” White said. “He has the ability to be a lock-down defender and with his length and athleticism, he brings a lot of versatility to the floor. He is a strong rebounder and can guard multiple positions.

“I really like how he compliments our young corps of returners. He’s a fine young man, and he hails from a program led by coach Mike Marquis that is extremely well-respected nationally.”

Johnson’s older brother Justin, who played at TJC and the University of Iowa as well as professionally in Canada and Japan, attended the signing along with their parents Michael Johnson and Cynthia Melontree Johnson; and their grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Melontree.

Also, a number of teammates were on hand as well as a few members of the Apache Ladies basketball team.

Tech has also had success over the years recruiting players from Tyler’s program, including Ron Ellis (1990-1992), Donald Thompson (1994-1996) and Roosevelt Powell (1989-1991).

Johnson, a former three-time All-East Texas performer at John Tyler High School, played wing for the Apaches and averaged 13.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 73 percent at the free throw line.

He was named first team all-conference and all-region. Johnson helped lead the Apaches to an 18-12 record and reach the quarterfinals of the Region XIV Tournament.

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