Saturday, February 13, 2010

Senior Day Profile: Billy Johnson

In coming back for his final year of eligibility, 5th-year senior Billy Johnson has secured his position in the history of MIT basketball. Johnson will leave the program as the all-time wins leader as a player in MIT basketball history. Including this season, Johnson has been a part of three 20 win seasons.

As a freshman out of Kamiak High School in Everett, Washington, Willard "Billy" Johnson entered as a part of the prized 2005 MIT recruiting class that included other future stars such as Bradley Gampel and Jimmy Bartolotta. Although the team that year was heavily senior dominated, Johnson still managed 13 starts in 23 appearances. The future looked bright for Johnson, but an injury six games into his sophomore season kept him out the rest of the year. As a junior, Johnson started all 24 games he appeared in, averaging 10 points per game and 5 rebounds per game. He had one of his biggest performances on opening day of that season, scoring 26 points and hauling in 7 rebounds against Western Connecticut. Entering his true senior season, Johnson entered a completely different player than three years prior, having added many pounds in muscle and polishing his all-around game. This paid off on the court as he would set career marks in every category, starting all 26 games he appeared in, averaging 17 ppg and 6 rpg. That season, he set career highs in points, scoring 40 in last year's senior day against Clark, and rebounds, with 14 against Springfield on February 4, 2009. He was named 2nd-team All-NEWMAC last season for his efforts. Now returning for his second senior season, Johnson has played an instrumental role in shaping the young group of talented newcomers this year. He currently sits at 1000 career points and 460 career rebounds.

Coach Larry Anderson on Johnson:
“Bill, as a 5th senior, has been the ultimate champion for this team. Whether it is hosting recruits or scoring 40 points on the court. He has been a consummate leader for this team for five years and really leads by example. From day one when Bill stepped on this campus at 6’8” you knew he was a basketball player, but his commitment to changing the stereotype of MIT basketball players and MIT athletes as a whole has been relentless. I can’t put into words what Bill has meant to this program. Coming back for a 5th year has really helped the continuity of our program and you can really see the results on the court in how the young players are responding to his, and the other captains’, leadership.“