Johnson, 50, is a New Orleans native who played college basketball at Southern University in Baton Rouge. He was undrafted after college, but earned a place in the big leagues with his guts and determination. He played for several NBA teams, including the 1998-99 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs, on which he was the starting point guard.
He later coached in the NBA and took the Dallas Mavericks to their first-ever NBA Finals appearance, and four consecutive 50-plus win seasons.
Nick Saban has earned a reputation as a “game changer” for Alabama football. He is someone high school recruits, and their families, believe can mold high school kids into football professionals.
Avery Johnson could do the same thing for basketball players.
Most top college recruits have visions of the NBA dancing in their heads. Playing at a school like Kentucky has helped some of those players achieve their dreams.
But where else can you go in college basketball if you want to play for a former NBA Championship player, a former NBA Coach of the Year who led his franchise to its first-ever NBA Finals appearance, and someone who knows the Big League inside and out?
You can go to The University of Alabama, and play for Coach Avery Johnson. When Johnson gets enough of those types of players to wear Crimson and White, the Tide basketball team will be cutting down nets on a regular basis again.
This guy may also be as much fun to watch interacting with the media as Saban is.