K’Ja Johnson signed his Letter of Intent at Buffalo Wild Wings on Nov. 25 to play basketball at Florida A&M University. Johnson was also looking at Kennesaw State, but ultimately made the decision to make the journey farther south.
“They are a rebuilding program and I wanted to be a part of that,” Johnson said on why he chose to become a Rattler. “I like the campus and I think I can have a successful season there.”
DC coach Hollis Bethea believes that Johnson made the right choice of school.
“He will have great career at the college level and is going to a conference where he can play right away,” Bethea said. “If he continues to improve his game I can see him playing at the pro level.
Florida A&M has a new coach in Byron Samuels. Samuels was previously serving as the basketball operations coordinator at UGA, a job he held until June of 2013.
While at Georgia, Samuels was responsible for oversight of the players' day-to-day schedules and their academic performance, assisting with the program's on-campus recruiting efforts, summer camps and community outreach.
A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Samuels has built an extensive coaching resume spanning 11 schools in 26 years. His career experiences include three head coaching posts, two at four-year schools, and one in the junior college ranks.
Samuels' first head coaching job came at Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference member Hampton University. During his two-year stint (1995-97), he helped the Pirates with their transition to NCAA Division I status.
His teams broke 14 team and individual records and both of his recruiting classes were ranked No. 1 in the MEAC.
Samuels and Johnson had a conversation on what will be expected of the new recruit.
“He asked me ‘why do you think I want you on the team’ and I answered ‘to be a playmaker,’” Johnson said. “He said ‘no, I need you to score.’ He wants me to be that go to player and score more.”
Johnson has had a solid career at Douglas County, a school that he has family ties to.
“It means a lot to play here,” Johnson said. “I grew up in Douglasville and my granddaddy came here. It means a lot to be a part of this school.”
As for his coach, Johnson said that Bethea makes him a better player and person.
“He has helped me become a man and has always brightened my day,” Johnson added.
Bethea had nothing but praise for his point guard.
“K’Ja meant a lot to this program from a leadership standpoint on and off the court. He works just as hard at his academics as he does on the court,” Bethea said. “He is a good example for the young guys who look at him as role model.”
While at DC, Johnson was a member of FCCLA and the Spanish Society. He has played travel ball since sixth grade with Pete Jenkins and the Westside Elite. He plans on majoring in Zoology.