BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU senior forward Justin Johnson has been named one of five
members of the 2017-18 Senior CLASS Award First Team, the first such selection in
the history of Hilltopper Basketball.
Johnson – a 6-foot-7 native of Hazard, Ky. – was already the first member of the
10-finalist group for the award in program history.
He was joined on the first team by Navy’s Shawn Anderson, North Dakota State’s A.J.
Jacobson, Georgia’s Yante Maten and West Virginia’s Jevon Carter, who won the Senior
To be eligible for the award, student-athletes must be classified as NCAA Division I
seniors and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community,
classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior
CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use
their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their
Johnson has been a standout on the court for the Hilltoppers for four years and a
strong presence in the community for just as long.
He finished his college career ranked 10th on WKU’s all-time scoring list with 1,715
career points and fifth on the all-time rebounding list with 1,057 career boards.
He’s one of five players in program history with at least 1,000 career points and
1,000 career rebounds, and the first since Jim McDaniels in 1971.
Johnson is the only active NCAA player with at least 1,700 career points and 1,000
career rebounds. He’s ranked fifth among active players in career double-doubles
(40) and sixth in career rebounds.
The forward is the first Hilltopper to lead the program in both scoring and
rebounding in three straight seasons since McDaniels from 1968-71, and he’s the
first Conference USA player to lead the league in rebounding average in back-to-back
seasons since Memphis’ Joey Dorsey from 2006-08.
Johnson also showed off his natural athleticism this year by spending spring
practice, summer workouts and the beginning of fall camp with the football team as a
tight end before returning to basketball in August.
Johnson graduated in just three years with a bachelor’s degree in sport management.
He’s now pursuing his master’s degree in intercollegiate athletic administration.
He’s been named multiple times to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll for
student-athletes with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.
Johnson, a team captain, has been a steady leader for the WKU program through years
of coaching and roster turnover. He was one of just two active players returning
from last year and was the team’s only four-year player.
He also worked tirelessly in the offseason to return from both knee surgery and
deliberate weight gain, both of which were attributed to his time spent with the
football team. Johnson often worked out four times a day in the offseason to shed
the weight he gained purposefully for football and to rehab his knee back into
Johnson has been a staple of the community since he arrived at WKU. He’s taken
multiple mission trips to Belize and China, where he’s spent time with
underprivileged children in addition to playing games. He did the same this August
in Costa Rica, where he played with children at a local orphanage during WKU’s
Johnson has also volunteered to work with senior citizens at Bowling Green
Retirement Village, spoken at youth basketball games during the playing season,
visited with special needs children from the city’s Camp Happy Days in previous
years and volunteered several times for the United Way Day of Caring, including time
with the area Boys & Girls Club.
Only WKU, Duke and Stanford have had first-team Senior CLASS Award selections in
multiple sports this season. WKU Volleyball setter Jessica Lucas was also selected
to her sport’s first team.
How to follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper
Basketball, follow the team’s social media channels, @WKUBasketball on Twitter,
@WKUBasketball on Instagram, and WKU Basketball on Facebook.