STORY & PHOTOS BY GLENN NELSON
Brittany Johnson lives in a small town, and plays for a small school that plays other small schools. But, make no mistake, Johnson is big time.
In fact, she may have put up the biggest set up numbers anywhere in the country.
If anyone should write a book on sports terminology and sayings, under "re-wrote the record books" should be Johnson's career at East Richland High School in Olney, Ill. First off, Johnson set state records for career points (4,031), career field goals (1,500), career free throws (855), consecutive free throws (47; she also had the second-longest streak at 41 straight), single-season points (1,202), single-season field goals (344) and single-season scoring average (36.4 per game). Her career school records include 786 rebound, 467 steals, and 341 assists.
Brittany Johnson shoots over Danielle Robinson
at USA Basketball trials
And how's this for scoring consistency? Johnson had double-figures points in 128 of 129 games at East Richland. She also had 18 games during her career with 40 or more points, 78 with 30 or more and 120 with 20 or more.
"Brit is such a great scorer because she can score in every way," coach Curt Dobbs said. "She can shoot long-range, pull-up jumpers from well over 22 feet. She attacks the basket with no fear off the dribble with speed and athleticism. She has the best mid-range game in the country at any range and shoots a very high percentage with soft touch. And she gets to the free-throw line over 10 times per game and shoots at 80 percent for her career."
Lest anyone dismisses Dobbs' opinions as the rantings of a biased coach, Johnson is a legit, elite college prospect, who HoopGurlz ranks No. 34 in the 2007 class. An Ohio State signee, Johnson has very good size at 5 feet 11, good strength and explosiveness and can do everything that Dobbs says against top competition.
In terms of crunching numbers, Brittany Johnson also was the best show that almost nobody saw.
Schools looking for inside players (isn't that everybody) will be tailing the West Coast Elite pretty closely this spring and summer. WCE already had Kelsey Bone, a 6-3 post out of Sugar Land, Texas who perhaps is the top prospect in 2009, plus 6-4 Ashley Gayle and 6-3 Monique Oliver, both of Las Vegas. To those riches, it adds another top 2009 kid in Tierra Rogers of Sacred Heart in San Francisco, who at 5-11 is a human vacuum cleaner on the offensive boards. Their lists of schools are impressive. Bone has Georgia,
Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and USC as her finalists. Rogers has Cal, Duke, LSU, Michigan State, Oregon State, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Tech, UCLA and USC. Oliver has Arizona State, Baylor, Cal, LSU, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Rutgers, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Washington. And Gayle, the only 2008 prospect in the bunch, has Baylor, Cal, Duke, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Purdue, San Diego, USC and Vanderbilt. The cautionary tale should be, with all this pursuit, you'll have to show up early to this team's games, just to get a seat. ... Megan Elliott, a 6-1, 2007 wing at the Pace Academy in Atlanta, Ga., has verballed to Rice, the runners-up in Conference USA. "Megan is a very hard worker and was a pleasure to coach the last few years," said Jonathan Davis of the Georgia Hoopstars club team. "She is very underrated player in the state of Georgia, but was recruited nationally by many of colleges that saw her play in exposure events." Elliott will be the ninth player off the Hoopstar's elite team to sign with a Division I school. ...Michelle Jenkins, a 6-3 post out of Southridge High School and the top prospect in the 2008 class in Oregon, will be playing club ball for the Cal Storm. The Storm already features the likes of Alyssia Brewer of Sapulpa, Okla.; Casey Morris of Piedmont, Calif., and Shawna-Lei Kuehu of Honolulu, Hawaii. Kuehu, who is the No. 17 overall prospect in the 2008 class, suffered a torn ACL in November and won't be cleared to resume playing until the summer, at the earliest.
Chris Hansen also contributed to this report.
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Glenn Nelson is the publisher of HoopGurlz.com and the editor-in-chief of Scout Media (www.Scout.com), an online sports network and magazine-publishing company and subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media. Glenn also founded and coached
the Dragons and Northwest HoopGurlz select girl's basketball teams. He previously was a longtime, national-award-winning basketball columnist and writer for The Seattle
Times. His work also has appeared in several national magazines and books. He is co-author of "Rising Stars: The Ten Best Players in the NBA" (Rosen Publishing, 2002). He
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.