Colorado Springs, CO – With the 50th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, former Frank Phillips (TX) men's basketball standout Alize Johnson heard his name called on basketball's biggest stage. The 6-9 forward's dream of playing professional basketball was reached as the Indiana Pacers selected Johnson in the second round.
"Alize meant so much to our program," stated Frank Phillips head coach Chris Hackett. "On the court he was an all-conference player and led us to the regional tournament, but he was such a great kid. Very humble and respectful. Everybody loved him."
Johnson, declared a potential steal of the 2018 draft throughout the months leading up to the event, was a two-year member of the Plainsmen from 2014-2016. Johnson helped lead Frank Phillips to its first postseason berth in seven years, a feat that left a lasting impact on Hackett's program.
"You don't find players like Alize very often," Hackett added. "The talent was obvious, but he had such a great work ethic on the court and in the classroom. That is a lot more rare than talent."
Alize Johnson on his time at Frank Phillips (via Missouri State Athletics)
"Coach (Chris) Hackett game me a life-changing opportunity. He didn't sell me on the NBA, just on working hard every day. Getting to the region tournament was a huge achievement for us. We were underdogs at the start of the season, but he had a vision and kept us locked in all year. For me, he made the impossible, possible."
In his rookie season at Frank Phillips, Johnson averaged 12.7 points and 7.6 rebounds for the 17-13 program but upped his efforts as a sophomore in 2015-16 with 16.7 points and 12.0 rebounds to lead the Plainsmen to 22 wins. Johnson improved in nearly every statistical category which led him to a roster spot at Missouri State University.
After a stellar junior season with the Bears, Johnson tested the NBA pre-draft waters, but ultimately returned for one final season of collegiate basketball. As a senior, Johnson finished second as the Missouri Valley Conference's Player of the Year after finishing fifth in the nation with 11.6 rebounds per game.
A native of Williamsport, PA, Johnson is joining a program that boasted a 48-34 record in 2017-18 and earned the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Johnson joins former Hutchinson (KS) standout Kadeem Allen as former NJCAA student-athletes to be drafted into the NBA in consecutive years.
(Photo Credit: Dillon Paul Jones)