MCHS star named Mr. Basketball

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marshall County senior point guard Kedren Johnson added one more award to his personal trophy case on Saturday night when he was named Class AA Mr. Basketball after the State title game between East Literature and Liberty Tech Magnet at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro.

Johnson was a Mr. Basketball finalist last year as a junior, but saw Fulton's Jalen Steele, who currently plays at Mississippi State, take home the award. On Saturday, Johnson beat out Liberty Tech Magnet point guard Kendall Anthony and Booker T. Washington swingman Martavious Newby for the prestigious honor.

"I put in a little more work last summer and got my body into better shape. I think it paid off," said Johnson. "Coach (Jason) Tigert just had a great system and allowed me to flourish and show my talents."

While he is the first Tiger player to be named Mr. Basketball, Johnson became the third MCHS athlete to be named the state's player of the year for their sport in the last four school years. Current Alabama standout Dont'a Hightower won the Class AAA Mr. Football award in 2007 and in 2009 former Tigerette great Lauren March was selected Class AA Ms. Basketball.

Although Johnson was unable to achieve his ultimate goal of winning a state title, he thought it was a fitting way to cap his stellar high school career.

"This ranks pretty high. It's a great honor to have my talents recognized. This is probably the highlight of my high school career," said Johnson. "There's been a lot of great players to come through the school so it means a lot to be the first Mr. Basketball. A state championship would have been nice too. This eases the pain a little bit, but I'm a sore loser and I want to win at everything I do."

Along with being named District MVP three times, Johnson was the Region 6-AA tournament MVP each of the last two years and finished his career at Marshall County as the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,442 points.

During the 2010-11 campaign, Johnson averaged 28 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals per game, shot 55 percent from the field, 35 percent from three-point range, and 75 percent at the foul line. Johnson also set MCHS' single-game scoring record this season with a 55-point outburst against East Hickman on Feb. 4.

Prior to being named Mr. Basketball, Johnson competed in the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association/Basketball Coaching Association of Tennessee All-Star game earlier in the day and poured in 43 points by drilling nine three-pointers to help lead the East team, which was coached by Tigert, to a 131-121 victory over the West.

Decked out in black and gold for the ceremony, Johnson believes he can contribute as a freshman when he suits up for Kevin Stallings' Vanderbilt Commodore squad this fall, but knows he will have to work hard to receive playing time.

"I want to work on my body a little more and keep improving my jump shot," said Johnson. "I don't want to just go in there as a freshman. I want to go in there as a basketball player and help them win games."

After witnessing Johnson's exploits at Marshall County first hand, Vanderbilt fans should be in for a fun ride for the next four years.