By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
Kody Johnson is as special a young man off the basketball court as he is on it, and make no mistake about it, Kody Johnson is a very special talent indeed on the hardwood.
Johnson came into this week needing only 24 points to join Taylor Gover as the only two players in the history of Pulaski County High School to tally 2,000 points for a career.
Thanks to his 13 points at Somerset on Tuesday night, the PC senior is now only 11 points shy of the 2,000 point plateu, with 1,989 points headed into the regular season finale tonight at West Jessamine.
Johnson is part of a senior class that has had much success at PC over his brilliant four-year prep career.
The PC seniors have owned Pulaski County basketball over their four-year careers, posting a 9-1 record against arch-rival Southwestern, and owning a 9-1 record against Somerset.
Johnson has been a major part of three consecutive 47th District Tournament championships at Pulaski County High School, which included a 24-game winning streak against district foes.
In short, Kody Johnson’s high school career has been a special one indeed, and the PC senior is hopeful that he can continue that success at the next level — a decision he took care of earlier this week.
On Monday — with his family, teammates, and coaches by his side — Johnson made his collegiate choice official, as he signed to play his college basketball with Campbellsville University.
The Tigers are a very solid basketball program in the Mid-South Conference, owning a 16-9 record heading into this week.
Head coach Keith Adkins — now in his 13th year at the helm of the Campbellsville program — says he is ecstatic to have a player and person of Kody Johnson’s caliber as a member of the Tigers family.
“When we recruit the state of Kentucky, we love to get guys who have been part of successful programs, and we love to get guys who have been coached,” stated coach Adkins.
“Obviously, the history of Pulaski County basketball speaks for itself,” added the Tigers head coach. “Coach (Al) Gover’s track record speaks for itself. We think we’re getting a guy in Kody Johnson who is ready to play college basketball right now.”
As with all players making the jump from high school to the rigors of college basketball, Johnson has many things he will have to adjust to — with the first thing immediately being the task of working on his body to make himself stronger for the collegiate level.
Adkins pointed out that all players coming out of high school have to make the adjustment to the college game, but in Johnson, he feels that his program is getting something that coaches simply can’t coach — and that’s a burning desire to win and compete — a trait that he feels like the PC senior already possesses.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of things that are going to be different from high school to college basketball,” pointed out the Tigers head coach. ”Kody will figure that out. He’s going to have to get stronger, and he will have to improve his ball handling skills, but he understands that.”
“As I’ve told Kody many times when we started recruiting him, he has something special that you can’t teach somebody to be, and that’s being competitive,” remarked coach Adkins. “He really competes with every possession, both offensively and defensively. Honestly, there’s just not a lot of guys out there that have that fire.”
As for Johnson himself, he says that once he met coach Adkins and went on his visit to Campbellsville, he had no doubt whatsoever the Tigers were the perfect fit for himself and his game.
“Coach Adkins is a really nice guy, and I really liked him and respected him from the moment I met him,” said Johnson.
“I went there and saw them play over the weekend, and I soon realized that coach Adkins is a great basketball coach as well as a great person,” remarked Johnson. “Campbellsville is close to home, and I wanted the chance to be able to come back next year and watch my little brother (Jake) play football at PC, so it was a perfect fit for me.”
As for the man that has had the privilege to coach Kody Johnson in his four years at Pulaski County High School, Maroon head coach Al Gover says he has no doubt whatsoever that Johnson — just as he did at PC — will make his own special mark while playing for Campbellsville.
“When you have kids that we’ve had in this program for four years, you don’t want them to leave obviously, but you wish you could have them for four more years,” noted Gover.
“Kody’s got a chance to move on and play at Campbellsville, and I have no doubt that he will go there and be a very good player for them,” Gover added. “He’s an intense player, he works hard, and I’m pretty confident that Kody will work his way into the rotation at Campbellsville. Nobody will work harder than Kody to get better — I can promise you that.”
When Johnson arrived at Pulaski County High School four years ago, he was a skinny kid that could simply jump out of the gym. And, he didn’t care one bit to mix it up with anybody down in the paint when it came to fighting for a critical rebound, or driving to the hole for a crucial basket in a close game.
He was as fierce a competitor as there was on the court — regardless of who the Maroons might be playing against on a particular night.
He worked hard to get better over the past four years at Pulaski County, and now that hard work has paid off.
And, when all is said and done, maybe it was only fitting that Kody Johnson signed with Campbellsville.
After all, for four years in a Maroon uniform, he proved on a consistent basis — night in and night out — when it came to winning or losing, he really was a tiger on the hardwood.