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In a day and age where more and more young athletes abandon playing multiple sports early and shift their focus to a specific discipline, East Allegheny’s Amani Johnson is an anomaly.
Johnson plays four sports and excels in all four—soccer, volleyball, basketball, and softball. Supremely talented, she has started since her freshman season on all four teams. In the fall, she pulls double-duty for the Wildcats, bouncing back-and-forth between the volleyball court and soccer field. However, it’s basketball where Johnson shines the brightest.
The reigning WPIAL scoring champion has already decided to chase her hoop dreams after high school, and Pittsburgh Sports Now caught up with Johnson to discuss her scholarship offer from Robert Morris and head coach Charlie Buscaglia this week.
“It always feels great to get an offer,” Johnson said. “After talking with the coaches, I realized they really focus on the kids they recruit not just as basketball players but as people, too.”
“So receiving an offer from them means even more now knowing that they believe I’m just as good a person as I am a basketball player.”
The 5-foot-5 guard also holds offers from Kennesaw State, Niagara, Nicholls State, St. Francis (Pa.) and Youngstown State.
Johnson averaged a jaw-dropping 31 points a game as a junior while leading the Wildcats to the second round of last year’s PIAA Division AAA tournament. She was named a first-team Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State selection and received second-team all-state honors from USA Today.
East Allegheny finished the season 24-2, and Johnson seeks the same winning atmosphere at the next level.
“I’m looking for coaches and a program that has a winning culture,” Johnson said. “I want to go somewhere that knows what it’s like to win and what it takes to get there.”
Robert Morris definitely meets all the requirements. The Colonials didn’t miss a beat last year after Buscaglia took over the program, capturing the NEC regular season title and closing out the Sewall Center with a 13-point victory over Bryant in the conference tournament championship. It was the program’s fifth straight NCAA tournament bid.
While the idea of playing college basketball in Pittsburgh excites Johnson, where she chooses to play at the next level hinges on what’s best for her.
“It’d be nice to stay close to home so my family and friends could see me play, but that’s not really a big part of it for me,” Johnson claimed. “I’m more worried about finding somewhere I’m going to love spending the next four years, because ultimately, I’m the one who has to go there.”
Johnson committed to playing all four sports again this year at East Allegheny and has set lofty goals for her final basketball season.
“I want to surpass 2,000 points and make it to the Peterson Events Center for the WPIAL finals,” Johnson said.
She only needs 430 points to reach the 2,000-point plateau, and East Allegheny finished one game shy of reaching the WPIAL finals last year, losing by a point to Neshannock in the semifinals.
Look for Robert Morris to keep the full-court press on for Johnson’s services. For the four-sport phenom, it should be no sweat.
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