Graduating veteran affectionately known for his dance moves
It’s something remarkable when an athlete spends their entire five year college eligibility with a single program. Men’s basketball player Ted Johnson is one of those special cases.
Five years ago, the 23-year-old joined George Brown straight out of Toronto’s Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School. His Huskies career has seen Johnson go from being reserved to a player beloved for his dance moves on and off the court.
“He was very quiet when he first came out, and slowly he became Ted the dancer that everybody’s come to love,” said Huskies head coach Jonathan Smith. “He grew from there. Now he’s a vibrant personality.”
According to Johnson, it was a matter of comfort. Opening up came with getting to know his coaches, teammates, systems and routines. “Now I won’t shut up,” Johnson said with a smile.
Getting there wasn’t always an easy process. While Smith and Johnson joined George Brown at the same time, there was no familiarity between them. Even though Smith said the coaches liked what they saw, that didn’t keep Johnson from receiving some tough love.
“He would always yell at me, but he said, ‘If I’m not on your back, then something’s wrong,’ ” remembered Johnson. “I took it as a good thing, and our relationship got better over the years. We just became closer and closer.”
By the end of his Huskies career, Johnson was one of Smith’s most trusted players. The 5’9″ guard proved an elite bench option this season, providing a steady presence on both ends of the court.
Johnson’s lone regret was a lack of versatility early on, but it’s clear his game has come a long way from then to now.
“He’s always been one of those aggressive, offensive players but he’s really stepped up on the defensive end; his on-ball defending has been fantastic this year,” said Smith. “We’re proud of how he’s developed over the last five years.”
Individually, Johnson’s best season may have come last year when he posted career highs in minutes per game and points per game. On a team level, it was this season’s journey to which he ascribed the most pride.
“Making it to provincials, going to the finals and going to nationals (was) something I never thought we would accomplish but it happened,” said Johnson. “I stayed with the program, I was patient and finally got it and went out with a bang.”
Moving forward, Johnson is looking to turn his advanced diploma in business administration-finance into a career advising on financial matters.
Smith was confident that if he works as hard as he has the last five years, “success is not something that might come, it will.”
Johnson’s collegiate career may be at an end, but as longtime teammate Dejazmatch James remarked, “Once a Husky, always a Husky.”
“That’s a friend that we’ve all made for life,” said James. “All of us are going to be friends for life now, whether you’re playing with us or not.”