Jan. 13, 2004
By Cameron Norris, FSU Sports Information Intern
As a senior for Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, Arizona, Holly Johnson had all the awards and recognition she could possibly want as a high school player: two-time team MVP, all-district, all-city, all-state, Parade All-American, national honorable mention in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, the Arizona Girls Player of the Year, AAU national champion, plus high school basketball and volleyball state champion. Oh yeah, don’t forget Homecoming queen.
So where would a highly-regarded girls’ high school basketball player decide to go to play in college? Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, or Southern Cal?
Johnson committed to Florida State the very week she also took the Mountain Pointe Pride to the volleyball state championship and won Homecoming queen.
“I never would have thought I would go to Florida State,” Johnson said. “I always thought I would go to UCLA and then as I got to know the coaches and team better, I thought, ‘This place is starting to sound good’, so I ended up coming here.
“I really enjoyed the coaches, and I really liked them and I liked the teammates and I got along with all the players, which I thought was a rarity and I thought ‘If I like the coaches and I like the team, then why wouldn’t I come down here?”
It turned out to be a great decision for both Johnson and the Seminoles.
As a freshman, Johnson played in 30 games, starting in 15 of them, and averaged 25 minutes a game with 4.8 points and 3.3 assists per game. Johnson also connected on 72 percent of her free throws, placing her 9th in the ACC.
However, Johnson’s shining moment on the floor last season came on December 15, 2002, when she scored a career-high 15 points at Akron in a 75-46 win over the Zips. Johnson was also named ACC Rookie of the Week the following day for her performance, and with a 14-point performance against Georgia Tech 10 days ago, Johnson seems to be finding her groove on the court once again, and she is committed to making Florida State a premier sport in the spectrum of Seminole athletics.
“We have great fans, but going up to UConn and seeing their stadium sold out with 16,000 fans and having them all clapping synchronized before they make the first bucket is awesome,” Johnson said. “They’ve built a tradition there, and that’s what we’re trying to do here, and I think with each game, we do get a couple more fans, a couple new fans who enjoy watching women’s basketball. If we can get them to stay the whole time, and get some more students, that’s another key factor. We’re lacking students. At the men’s games, all the students are there. As long as we get our name out, and as long as we keep winning and doing well, I think more people will come.”
With four “veteran” seniors and five newcomers, including four freshmen and transfer Roneeka Hodges, on this year’s squad, chemistry will be key in the team’s success. Johnson thinks the closeness of the team will eventually lead to good things for this program.
“On the court, we’re definitely very close, and we know what we have to do,” Johnson said. “We’ve been through a lot together and I think that helps and that builds chemistry together. We all trust each other when we’re out there and I think that also helps build chemistry.”
But for now, Johnson is doing her part by going out and giving it her best shot, day in and day out.
“I’ve started a couple of games this year, but I’m just going out there and doing whatever I can to help the team,” Johnson said. “If that means starting, if that means coming off the bench, if that means sitting the whole game, if that means playing the whole game, I’m ready to do it, because this team needs to win and whatever we need to do to win, I’m there to help.”