Coach Ritchie McKay and UNM made it official today that former Penn St. Forward Aaron Johnson will attend UNM for the next two seasons. Per NCAA rules Johnson has to sit out the 2005-06 season and will be eligible for 2006-07. The 6-9 240lb Johnson joins JUCO transfers Joel Box (Quincy, Ill., John Wood CC), Justin Holt (Tacoma, Wash., Indian Hills (Iowa), Kyle Prochaska (Wahoo, Neb., Iowa Western CC), and local high school big man Daniel Faris as incoming post players in what has to be called one of the best post player recruiting efforts in recent history for UNM.
Here is the official release from UNM
University of New Mexico men's basketball coach Ritchie McKay announced today that senior-transfer Aaron Johnson has signed a scholarship grant-in-aid to attend UNM beginning with the 2005-06 school year. Johnson, a 6-9, 240-pound forward, will transfer to New Mexico from Penn State and sit out the 2005-06 season due to NCAA rules. He will have one year of eligibility remaining in the 2006-07 season.
Johnson is a native of Exton, Penn., and was an all-state player at West Chester East High School. After graduating, Johnson spent one season at St. Thomas More Prep where he averaged 28.0 ppg and 18.0 rpg, leading his team to a 29-1 record and the conference title. He initially joined the Nittany Lions as an invited walk-on during his freshman season. He led the team in rebounding as a frosh, averaging 7.5 boards-per-game to go with 8.3 points-per-game. The start of his sophomore season was slowed by surgery to repair a detached retina, causing him to miss the first five games. He did make the trip to New Mexico and participated in the 2003 Comcast Lobo Invitational. He scored two points and two rebounds in a win over Arkansas State and five points and five rebounds in a loss to the Lobos. As the season went on, he greatly improved his game, averaging 12.1 ppg and 7.3 rpg in Big 10 action.
season, Johnson solidified himself as one of the top rebounders in the country,
despite playing on a team that posted just one conference win and a 7-23 overall
record. He grabbed 24 rebounds in a win over Western Carolina in the Black
Coaches Association Classic on November 15, 2004. His 24 boards tied for the
second-highest single-game total in the NCAA last season and was a BCA Classic
record. Johnson also grabbed 20 rebounds against Sacred Heart and 21 boards
against Northwestern, making him the only player in the NCAA with multiple 20+
rebound games last season. The 21 rebounds against Northwestern were the most in
a Big 10 game in school history. He led the Big 10 and was tied for 14th in the
NCAA in rebounding, averaging 9.9 rpg last season. He also averaged 11.8 ppg and
posted 11 double-doubles. Johnson shot 42.8% from the field, 31.8% from 3-pt.
range and 65.5% from the FT line. Born on March 9, 1983, Johnson is the son of
Howard and Patricia Johnson and is a Communications major.
Head Coach Ritchie McKay on Aaron Johnson
"Aaron Johnson is a great addition to our program. Anytime you can have the kind of success against top competition in the Big 10 that he had, proves that he is very motivated to compete at a high level. Our interior has improved greatly each year that we have been here and this helps us continue that trend. I can assure you I am confident in both Aaron's ability and his character and he will represent the University of New Mexico in an exemplary fashion."
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