James Johnson will join Clemson basketball staff


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According to the Washington Post, James Johnson will leave Virginia Tech to be an assistant coach at Clemson. Earlier this month, former Clemson assistant Rick Ray left Clemson to become the head coach at Mississippi State.

Johnson was Greenberg’s longest-tenured assistant after joining the staff in 2007 to replace Greenberg’s brother, Brad, when he accepted the head coaching job at Radford. Johnson had previously worked under Coach Jim Larranaga at George Mason when the Patriots made a run to the Final Four in 2006.

Johnson was also considered the Hokies’ most consistent recruiter outside of Greenberg, and his move couldn’t have come at a worse time from a recruiting perspective. College basketball’s new April evaluation period is set to begin next weekend. Johnson was the primary recruiter for Robert Brown and C.J. Barksdale, and he also helped land incoming recruit Marshall Wood of Rustburg, Va., this past year.

From the VT official site:

A top-notch recruiter, Johnson has used his enthusiasm and knowledge of the game to help lead the Hokies to new heights.

In his first three seasons with the Hokies, Johnson has established himself as a key assistant coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference. His knowledge of fertile recruiting areas has already paid dividends for the Hokies.

Johnson joined the Hokies following two seasons as an assistant at George Mason. While at Mason, he focused on organizing the team’s defensive efforts in practice and games. The Patriots were a combined 45-23 in his two seasons and advanced to the 2006 NCAA Final Four.

Johnson, a native of Powhatan, Va., was a four-year player and three-year starter at Ferrum College. A three-time Defensive Player of the Year, he helped guide his team to two conference championships and a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament. He was also voted his team’s Most Valuable Player in 1993. In 2001, Johnson was selected as one of the Top 10 players in Ferrum basketball history.

After graduating from Ferrum College with a bachelor of science in psychology in 1993, he immediately stepped into the coaching ranks at his alma mater and served as an assistant for two seasons. Johnson helped guide the Panthers to a regular-season conference title.

In 1995, Johnson moved on to Longwood College as an assistant and then spent one year at Hargrave Military Academy, where he worked with the post-graduate team. In 1997, he began a three-year run as an assistant at Old Dominion. In 1998, Johnson helped guide ODU to a 25-9 overall mark and the second round of the NIT.

Johnson is a member of the Black Coaches Association (BCA) and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). In March 2001, Johnson was named one of the Top 20 Assistant Coaches at Mid-Major Division I Schools by Rivals.com. He was a squad leader in the Army National Guard from 1989-91.

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