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WVU-Tech basketball program lands Ty Johnson

Mark Martin
Sportswriter
Viking senior Ty Johnson, No. 1, goes up for the shot over the Lincoln County Panthers during a home game at the Heath Center in regular season game play.

In addition to being an outstanding basketball player, Ty Johnson also takes his academics seriously.

He's always strived to do things right on the court.

And likewise, in the classroom.

So in making a decision as to where he will spend the next four to five years at the college level, he took his time.

After all, he wanted to do it right.

Much thought was given and recently Johnson did, in fact, make the choice as to where he will continue his days as a student and basketball player.

Johnson will journey to Beckley and attend West Virginia University Tech to major in civil engineering and compete for the Golden Bear men's basketball program of second-year head coach James Long.

The Charleston native took his first head coaching job at Tech last season after spending some quality time as an assistant with Bob Huggins and the WVU Mountaineer program, where he once played.

Long had a lot to do with Johnson choosing the Beckley-based school.

“It was really the coaching staff,” he said “I liked how they did last season. I liked how he did. I like him a lot. He’s a genuine guy.”

Long took over from Bob Williams, who enjoyed a great career guiding the program, first in Montgomery where the school was located for many years and later Beckley.

Tech competes at the NAIA level and is a member of the River States Conference.

Johnson selected Tech over some post-graduate schools, the University of Pikeville and Concord.

He feels Tech has plenty to offer as does the city where it is now located.

“I think Beckley is super nice,” Johnson said.

He’s super excited about playing in one of the better basketball facilities in the state – the Raleigh County Convention Center…aka The Armory.

Johnson has played there some and thinks it will be a great place to call his basketball home.

While he’s looking forward to the next chapter in his basketball life, Johnson will miss playing for the Ripley Vikings.

He led the Vikings in scoring with 17.7 points per game average this past season and was also No. 1 in rebounds, grabbing 10.5 a game.

In addition, Johnson dished out 2.8 assists per game, while blocking 2.6 shots a contest and coming up with 1.7 steals.

Johnson shot 54 percent from 2-point range and knocked down 19 shots behind the 3-point line. Johnson was a 73 percent free-throw shooter for Ripley in his senior season.

Those numbers led to him earning Class AAA Third Team All-State. He helped Ripley win 12 games in each of the past two seasons under Luke Parsons, who took over the program when Johnson was a junior.

“I loved playing for Coach Parsons,” said Johnson, who also enjoyed an outstanding junior season despite missing half the games because of a broken hand.

This season he had the opportunity to play alongside his younger brother, Luke, who was a freshman.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “I thought we had good chemistry.”

Johnson feels the sky is the limit for Luke Johnson.

He’s been working out with both Luke and his older brother, Chase, another former Viking standout.

Chase Johnson signed to play for the Florida Gators coming out of Huntington Prep, where he played his senior season of high school ball. He transferred to Dayton last season and was enjoying great success before injuries derailed things.

He recently announced he will be returning this season to the Flyer program.

“He’s super pumped,” said Ty Johnson, who presently stands 6-7 and weighs 190. “He’s definitely been a big influence for me."

Besides playing hoops on outdoor courts with his brothers, Ty Johnson has been also lifting weights and running.

“It’s been a little tough with the virus,” said Johnson of trying to maintain all that needs to be done to be successful at the next level due to COVID-19 situation.

But one thing is for certain, Ty Johnson will make it happen and be ready for the rigors of college academics and basketball.

Because he's a young man who knows how to do things right.