CHESTER HIGH had won consecutive PIAA AAAA titles when it played Lower Merion in the 2013 championship game. The Clippers had beaten Lower Merion in the 2012 title game, 59-33, to finish off an unbeaten season. Its star, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, was on his way to Arizona. The expected script was altered when senior B.J. Johnson went for 22 points and 11 rebounds for Lower Merion and the Aces took the championship, 63-47.
Johnson went on to Syracuse, but it never worked out as he hoped. Now, he is coming home to play his final two seasons of college basketball at La Salle. And nobody is happier than his dad, Bobby Johnson, the terrific sixth man on La Salle's great 1989-90 team.
"To be on the team that I played for, what more can you ask for?" Bobby Johnson said.
B.J., a 6-7 wing, played only 10 games as a freshman and only 4 minutes during the ACC season. He got more run this season, but not enough. He played 14.6 minutes per game and actually started a few games. He averaged 3.2 points on 30.7 percent shooting. He had 19 points in a road upset of ACC champion Notre Dame on Feb. 24.
"If you're not getting the most out of it, it's time to make a change," Bobby said.
B.J., who is only 19, will finish the semester at Syracuse and then enroll at La Salle. He will sit out next season and be eligible for the 2016-17 season.
B.J. looked at La Salle originally, but his heart was set on Syracuse when it started recruiting him.
"I kind of let him drive the bus," Bobby said of the decision to attend Syracuse. "I said, 'You don't have to go to La Salle because I went there.' You want to make sure you go somewhere that you're wanted and needed.''
It did not work out that way at Syracuse. Bobby said the Syracuse sanctions were irrelevant, that it was strictly a playing-time issue.
"This will kind of take him off the track, put him in the depot, overhaul, new sprockets, oil and bring him out in 2016," Bobby said.
And his dad will be at Gola Arena, loudly cheering for his son. Bobby is never shy in the stands.
"It's nice to go to a place where you're with family and you're wanted," Bobby said. "That's the best feeling you can get."