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Keymonta Johnson

A ‘key’ to the Eagles’ success

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Keymonta Johnson

Court leader
IVCC’s Keymonta Johnson drives to the basket.

Court leader IVCC’s Keymonta Johnson drives to the basket.

Akari Oya

Court leader IVCC’s Keymonta Johnson drives to the basket.

Akari Oya

Akari Oya

Court leader IVCC’s Keymonta Johnson drives to the basket.

Jacob Steinberg, Sports Columnist

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There are two types of leadership, strong and silent. Keymonta Johnson brought both to the table.

“Very coachable. Never gave me problems on or off the court. Just a pleasure to coach,” said Men’s Basketball coach Chris Herman, also adding that he is one of the best talents that he has ever coached.

A native of Decatur, Ill., Johnson grew up breathing and sleeping the game of basketball, starting out at a very young age in elementary school.

There are few things in this world that Johnson prioritizes over the game he loves.

“I can’t even describe it. Basketball is like my everything. It keeps me out of trouble, keeps me on the right track.”

Basketball is more than just a game for Keymonta and it has helped him keep his emotions in check throughout his life.

Keeping said emotions in check is key for any athlete, amateur or professional. It is a way to make yourself stand out as a leader, as Johnson has proven this year.

“When I’m upset, or hurting, I just go play basketball, and it helps. I go to the gym by myself and that’s the only way I know how to vent.”

Johnson graduated from MacArthur High School in 2016. In his senior season, he was a First-Team All-Conference, All-County, All-Area, and an Honorable Mention for All-State.

Johnson, a 6-foot 3 sophomore, has made strides to take his game to the next level. He finished the season in the top five in NJCAA Region IV in points and rebounds per game, averaging 21.9 and 11 respectively. That’s up from 12.1 PPG and 7 RPG from last season. These stats have proven that we have seen a much different and more aggressive Keymonta Johnson than in the year previous.

Going into his final season at IVCC, Johnson knew he had to improve his game drastically from his freshman campaign. His hard work payed off in a major way this season.

“Coach told me I was going to be the go to guy next year. The whole summer I was working extremely hard.”

This season, Johnson has shown the ability to score consistently for the Eagles. Johnson put up at least 20 points in 16 of 28 contests this year, up from only 5 games last season. Not only is his hard work and dedication showing up on the stat sheets, but on and off the court as well.

“We were a freshman dominant team last year and I think he kind of sat back and let some other guys take the lead,” said Herman. “He’s kind of a quiet kid, he leads by example.” Herman also added that the practices are not as good when he is not present. “He brings it every day, and it rubs off on everybody else.”

Johnson’s leadership on the court this year has guided the Eagles through some tough wins and losses. Johnson hopes to transfer to a four-year university next fall, as that has been a primary goal of his entire life. As Johnson prepares for the next chapter of his life, he will be missed by Coach Herman.

“I’m really going to miss that kid and the leadership he brought to this team.”

Chris Herman will not be the only one to dearly miss him, as fans and all members of the IVCC faithful will miss Keymonta’s smooth finishes and highlight reel plays.

Johnson led the Eagles to a 19-13 overall record, going 7-4 in the Arrowhead Conference. The Eagles upset the higher seeded Prairie State in the first round of the playoffs winning 77-67.

Unfortunately, the Eagles fell in the semi-final game against Triton 105-66.

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Keymonta Johnson