New Commitment Johnson Grew Up After Brawl

Given what happened in December – no need to rehash it – I would understand if MSU fans were wary of new basketball commitment Roquez Johnson, who made his pledge Wednesday. Why? Because of this, in which Johnson was a participant.

But to Johnson’s coach at Montgomery (Ala.) Carver High School, that brawl – which involved dozens of people, players and fans alike during a 2009 playoff game at Alabama State University – in no way defines Johnson’s character. What the player did afterwards is what defines it.

“What I can say about this group of guys, him especially, is they made a pact to say, hey coach, it’s more about sportsmanship than about doing anything crazy out there or doing anything silly on the floor,” coach James Jackson said. “After that happened, we just took off.”

The fight began after another play fouled Johnson hard. The 6-foot-6 forward responded with a shove. He knows now how to handle those situations and is trying to leave that baggage behind him.

“Guys give hard fouls, and you know how that thing goes sometimes,” Jackson said. “The first thing people want to see is something go wrong, (but) he’ll be that first guy over there telling them, ‘Let’s go, let’s play.'”

As for Johnson’s skill set, he’s reportedly a good ball-handler and likes to hit the glass, but his jump shot needs work. Jackson said he brings a lot of energy to the game.

And apparently, he can jump.

“When he gets in close to that basket,” Jackson said, “it’s going to be some fun.”