FAIRFIELD — After traveling upwards of 2,700 miles to play basketball, what’s another 147 miles to play somewhere else?
Rodriguez High class of 2011 graduate Franky Johnson will be attending Virginia Union University on a full scholarship, leaving behind Coppin State University of Baltimore, Maryland.
It as been a long road to get to this point for Johnson, as he’s attended Edmonds Community College in Washington (2011-2012), San Jose City College (2012-2013), Coppin State University (2013-2014), and now Virginia Union.
Virginia Union is a historically black college and competes in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which is a Division II conference.
“The campus was beautiful,” Johnson said. “There are brand new dorms that don’t even open until August that my teammates and I will live in, and everyone was friendly with good southern hospitality.”
Besides the campus, Johnson was excited to play for Tony Sheals, the head coach for the Panthers. Johnson said he talks to the coach about 3-to-4 times a day and likes that Sheals wants to see him graduate as much as he wants to see him succeed on the hardwood.
Sheals has an interesting past as he was once the Director of Basketball Operations at the University of Miami in 2001-2002 and was an assistant coach at Florida State University from 2002-06, among other places, according to the Panthers’ website.
The Panthers were 6-20 this past season but eight of those games were decided by seven points or less – three of which went to overtime.
Johnson will bring scoring to Virginia Union, which would help in those close games. Johnson averaged 18.2 points per game his ‘s junior season at Vanden and 12.9 points per game his senior year at Rodriguez.
Johnson said that Virginia Union is completely rebuilding the program, bringing in 10 new players, including himself. He said it will be a good fit for him.
“I’m super excited and can’t wait to play,” Johnson said. He added that his goal was to make it to the NCAA Tournament and at least the Final Four.
The last time Virginia Union made it to the Division II Final Four was 2006, and won it all in 2005.