April 30, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State head men’s basketball coach Leonard Hamilton announced the signing of junior college All-American guard Nate Johnson to a National Letter of Intent. Johnson led Moberly Area (Mo.) Community College to a fifth place finish at the National Junior College Championship Tournament in March and averaged 11.0 points, 7.8 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals as the starting point guard for the Greyhounds.
Johnson is the fourth player who has signed to play for Hamilton and the Seminoles beginning this fall. Johnson (Kansas City, Mo.) joins guard Benson Callier (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and forward Al Thornton (Perry, Ga.) as three players who have signed during the spring signing period. Guard Todd Galloway (Baltimore, Md.) signed a NLI during the early signing period and will also wear the garnet and gold starting this fall.
“Nate Johnson is a consummate point guard with a clear understanding of the job that position entails,” said Hamilton. “He is the reason why his team, which was picked to finish fifth out of six in the region, became a contender for the national title. They became a good team because of his leadership skills and unselfish attitude on the court. His maturity and leadership are two aspects of his game that will be important for us during the upcoming season.”
Johnson earned JUCO All-America second-team honors this season while leading Moberly to the Region 16 and District 11 championships. He was also selected the Region 16 Most Valuable Player. Moberly finished the season with a 29-7 record after being selected to finish fifth in its region prior to the season. Johnson averaged 14.0 points and 8.5 assists in the JUCO national championship tournament in Hutchinson, Kan. He had 34 assists and only three turnovers in four games as Moberly advanced to the national quarterfinals.
Johnson scored a career-high 26 points against State Fair (Mo.) Community College and recorded 15 assists twice this season.
“Nate is a composite of what a point guard should be,” said Moberly head coach Pat Smith. “His understanding of the game coupled with his aggressiveness, ability to play up-tempo and his ability to play under control are characteristics I don’t think you will find in many players today. He is like a coach on the floor who is going to make each of the other four players on the court with him better players.”