Thursday, October 20, 2016

The MVP of the Johnson family

The colleges a basketball prospect is considering or visiting, which one he chooses, his height and weight numbers, what he can lift and how high he can jump -- all of these intimate details can be found from multiple sources across the 'net.

But what about coverage of the formative years for a kid and his family? The past may or may not be prologue but this period of time is the crucible which forms and shapes all of us to a dominant degree. Insight into behavior and decisionmaking can be gleaned from knowledge of the relationships and interactions both within and outside of the household.

Here's the Family Johnson

One thing for sure in the Jennifer Johnson social unit is that she is the MVP, the Most Valuable Person. Yes, Tyler is sporting a new multi-million dollar professional basketball contract and, another son Logan, will soon be joining the college basketball-playing fraternity. But Jennifer is the hub, the mothership if you will, around which the siblings rotate. Those being Brandon, Tyler, Lauren, Logan and Gabe, the youngest age 12. It's a family that has succeeded because of the values they live by.

31 years into United States Air Force service with a focus on search and rescue missions and based at Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View for the last 15, Johnson is now also a veteran of the college recruitment process. Oldest son Brandon possessed "D1 athleticism in football and track" but went into the direction of his first love, music. Tyler was strongly pursued by Utah State and Fresno State and went with the latter as his college choice. There's also the question of how so many local and regional universities missed seeing or envisioning Tyler's makeup and potential but that's grist for a different article. Daughter Lauren played basketball at Chico State.

"I didn't know much about recruiting with Tyler but I got better with Lauren," Johnson recalled. "With Logan (a 2018 prospect attending St. Francis High and a member of the Top Flight Elite travel team), we're pretty seasoned with it and it's much easier to see the big picture. It's find the best fit for what you want to do."

She also noted, "I think there has to be a lot of parental involvement. If a coach says you need to sign now (or the offer will be rescinded), we choose not to allow anyone to intimidate us. I'm not about dragging out recruiting but you need to let everyone (who is interested) have the chance to recruit you."

The Johnson recruitment doctrine is "if you love to play ball, find a school where you can play that has the right academics. Go in and play your heart out. Don't feel you have to go D1 or all is lost if you are a DII level player." The recruiting world is filled with individuals who even chose to walk-on at D1 schools only to find negligible playing time was not necessarily the basketball experience they desired. They then transferred and ended up getting on the court much more.

Regarding Logan, one specific anecdote shared by Johnson dramatically displays his character. "Logan is against bullying. He stepped in at school where another student was being bullied. He reached out to the student and recognized he was having problems with other students. Logan began having the student eat lunch with him and several other students so he didn't have to eat alone. Logan raised awareness at school and a number of students began watching out for others. Logan had no problem standing up for others, he is the most generous and loving young man. He can be intense but he has a heart of gold."

With Tyler now firmly ensconced with the NBA's Miami Heat, is that a dream he esposed as a youngster? "Actually he talked about it when he was four or five -- that's what he was going to do," Johnson answered. "I never doubted because he was so convinced. He wrote school papers on it and told people what he was going to do. It was definitely amazing when it happened and it's still surreal."

Johnson continued, "Even as a youngster, he would tell me, 'don't worry Mom, I got you.' To this day, I still get up and go to work everyday --Tyler tells me I don't have to -- but I've always been an independent person so that has been tough for me. But it looks as though after 31 years serving in the military, he will get his way.

Having your kids voice the desire to make your life easier ranks among the ultimate expressions of love and gratitude. So what's the genesis of such for the Johnsons? "My kids grew up in a single family home and we didn't get extra things but we had a whole lot of love. Their rooms were set up to sleep in and everything else was done downstairs. There was no television or video games during the school week so they learned to have fun together and were always outside playing." This bond remains everlasting, cemented by being able to count on each other through the different schools and addresses experienced as part of being a military family.

This is also one competitive family. "There has been a little rivalry but it's in a loving way. The kids would go right at each other but nobody ever went to bed mad."

Johnson added, "I've never had a housekeeper so I've spent many long nights after practice and games staying up half the night cleaning my house and preparing for the next day. Things we do for our family." Tyler Johnson even developed an affinity for the culinary arts as a result of his younger years and could more than hold his own if a network ever wants to produce an NBA player cooking reality show.

To coaches and all others wishing to enter this family equation: when you get one Johnson, you get them all. Be thankful for that.

1 comment:

  1. Every word is well deserved, Jenn. Even before your life and story became public, those of us who know and love you recognized what an amazing woman and mother you are. I don't know how you do it all, and I'm glad your wonderful children don't take for granted all you do. Great article about a great lady.