B.J. Johnson, a former Lower Merion basketball standout who is transferring from Syracuse after two seasons, committed Monday to continue his career at La Salle.
Johnson's father, Bobby, was a sharpshooting wing guard for ex-coach Speedy Morris and the Explorers from 1986 to 1990. "I couldn't be happier about B.J.'s decision," the Southern High School graduate said. "There's a legacy there which I think he'll eclipse."
A 6-foot-7, 190-pound sophomore forward, B.J. Johnson averaged 4.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in 25 games for Syracuse in the recently completed season. He will sit out next season, according to NCAA rules, and have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2016-17.
Bobby Johnson said that Penn State, Seton Hall, St. Joseph's, and Temple also expressed interest in his son. "We didn't want this to be a long, drawn-out process," the elder Johnson said. "B.J. met with [La Salle coach] John Giannini and was satisfied that he'll get ample opportunity to show his talents."
As a senior at Lower Merion, Johnson averaged 16.5 points and 7.4 rebounds while helping the Aces to a 30-3 record and a PIAA Class AAAA championship. He was an Inquirer first-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection.
Big Five honors
Villanova senior guard Darrun Hilliard was named player of the year and Jay Wright was honored as coach of the year in the annual Big Five awards announced Monday.
Those two helped the Wildcats to several titles in the 2014-15 season, including winning the Big Five at 4-0, the Big East Conference regular season and conference tournament. The Wildcats were also a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Big Five first-team members are Hilliard (14.3 points per game), Villanova junior guard Ryan Arcidiacono (10.1), St. Joseph's sophomore guard/forward DeAndre' Bembry (17.7), La Salle sophomore guard Jordan Price (17.2) and Temple senior guard Will Cummings (14.9).
The second team is Jaylen Bond and Quenton DeCosey of Temple, Daniel Ochefu and JayVaughn Pinkston of Villanova, and Jerrell Wright of La Salle.
Villanova's Phil Booth was named rookie of the year.
Temple's NIT opponent
Louisiana Tech 84, Texas A&M 72 - Alex Hamilton scored 25 points and the Bulldogs made 11 three-pointers in rolling past the Aggies (21-12).
Louisiana Tech (27-8) will travel to face Temple on Wednesday at 9 p.m. at the Liacouras Center.
Hamilton was 9 of 15 from the field, including 3 of 6 from distance. Kenneth Smith drained all four of his three-point attempts and finished with 16 points and eight assists. The Bulldogs shot 51.7 percent from the field, including 63 percent in the second half.
Louisiana Tech dictated the tempo from the tip and wore the Aggies down with its ability to force turnovers and convert second-chance opportunities.
A&M freshman point guard Alex Robinson continued his NIT breakout with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists. Jalen Jones added 16 points.