Knight Offers one of nations finest in 2005 class

Although their season ended with a loss, Austin Johnson, the No. 78 ranked player in the class of 2005, led his Palo Duro High School team into the round of eight and a 35-2 record, the best record in the history of Palo Duro and the city of Amarillo, Texas. Coach Bobby Knight, down the road in Lubbock, noticed the 6-foot-3, 170-pound combo guard’s play this year and has offered a scholarship.
“Coach (Bobby) Knight has offered me,” said Johnson. “He told me I could commit to Tech whenever I was ready.”
“I think it is a good school, and I like the players. I have been down there a couple times and been in the locker room. The guys are really cool. Also, it is close to home, just two hours away. It would be a good place.”
As much as Johnson likes Texas Tech, he is not by any means ready to make a quick decision.
“I want to wait and see what happens this summer,” he said. “Actually, I leave tomorrow to fly to Dallas to practice with Team Texas. I will be playing with them this summer. I was supposed to play for the Dallas Mustangs last year, but it just didn’t work out because I couldn’t always get down there when I needed to.”
Despite having no national exposure to this point, Johnson already has the attention of several high major schools.
“Colorado State is also showing a lot of interest,” he said. “Arkansas came to one of my playoff games. Arizona State has come down here, and Michigan is just now sending me mail.”
Johnson also mentioned some other schools when asked what colleges he likes best.
“Growing up I always liked Syracuse and North Carolina. I like Texas Tech a lot and also Texas. I went to Texas’ camp last year, and they are recruiting me some. Syracuse and North Carolina are not recruiting me right now.”
Johnson, whose father is the head coach of the girls team at Palo Duro, averaged 27 points and 7 rebounds per game this year. He prefers the shooting guard position because it is easier for him to score within the offense from that position. However, he is plenty capable of playing the point guard position, which he will be called upon to do next year.
“I will play the point next year, but I like shooting guard best,” he said. “I can come off screens, and it’s easier for me to score than to bring the ball down, give it up, and then work to get it back again.”
Concerning Texas Tech, Johnson does not foresee any problem playing for the volatile Coach Knight. He also has a good idea of what he will look for in the schools that offer him.
“Coach Knight is a good coach, a great coach actually,” he said. “They told me that if I come there, he will break the record for the most wins by a college coach while I am there and there would be a lot of publicity around the program. I guess he is hard on people and goes crazy sometimes, but he has always been really nice to me. I don’t know if that will change if I go there. I can play for a hard coach. Coach Evans and our assistants are tough on us.”
“When I get ready to make a decision, I will look at the upcoming team and who will be playing with me. I want to be on a good team that can make it to the Final Four.”