By SAUL ROSA
Johnson began his basketball career in high school playing for Bridgeton. Although he did not break any records then, Johnson did play varsity his junior and senior years.
“For those enlisting days they missed something special,” said Darryl Brown, head coach for the Men’s Basketball team at CCC.
His career at CCC as shooting guard began as anything but ordinary. Akeem scored over 500 points his first season, earning the National Junior College Athletic Association Player of the Week, making 2nd team All-Garden State Athletic Conference, and 2nd All Region XIX, Johnson helped lead the team to their second best season.
However it was in his second season that he broke the 1000-point barrier. He made 1st team all-Garden State Athletic Conference and 1st team All-Regional XIX, was named named the most valuable player in the conference, and led the team to their best season ever.
“It was just remarkable to sit and watch him over the past two seasons score the way he does,” said Brown.
Johnson is described as a relaxed and quiet individual who gets along well with his other teammates and puts forth a good amount of effort in everything he does.
“Every day he just works, he goes out and does his job to the best of his ability,” said Brown. “I think the players respect that more than anything; they know what they are going to get from him and he gives 110 percent every day. They just follow his lead.”
Although Johnson is a skilled athlete on his own, it was a collective effort to secure many of the victories the team had, such as beating Gloucester County College and Passaic County College.
“It wasn’t just Akeem; the guys had a remarkable season,” said Brown.
“I like the team chemistry to be tight,” said Johnson. “I think everybody should know what they have to do on court and do it.”
Johnson appreciates everything his team and coaches, including his Assistant coaches Larry Simonini and Tom Zoyac have done for him, as well as his team and the senior players Kevin Brown and Jarrod Headley.
Johnson will not be playing for the Dukes Basketball team next year because he will be transferring to a four-year college. Although he is considering Rowan, he has not decided and will be attending the Sophomore Showcase, a tournament to present a player’s abilities, in April.
“I’m pushing for Rowan because it’s not to far from I live,” said Johnson. “I’ll probably get the same amount of playing time as I did here at Cumberland. I only have two more years of eligibility, and I don’t want to go to a school where I have to come off the bench when I could be starting,” he added.
With the 1000-point barrier shattered and a great start at CCC, Akeem Johnson will have many opportunities open to him, and if he makes choices as well as he shoots hoops, then he’ll never have an issue.