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Shenise Johnson is Simply the Best

Shenise Johnson is Simply the Best

Feb. 26, 2012

 

By Camron Ghorbi

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Associated Press Preseason First-Team All-American. Reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year. Two-time All-ACC First-Team selection. Shenise Johnson’s place in University of Miami lore was sealed well before she ever stepped onto the BankUnited Center parquet as the most decorated senior in program history.

She’s now 29 games into her senior campaign, and Shenise Johnson still won’t let up. After losing fellow All-ACC selection Morgan Stroman to a season-ending injury less than halfway through the team’s rugged conference schedule, Johnson has guided the Hurricanes to a 14-2 mark in conference play and an incredible 25-4 overall record without one of her most talented teammates.

It would seem hard to replicate last year’s season-long dominance, but the Henrietta, N.Y.-native has done that – and then some – in 2012.

Johnson is the only player with scoring (16.7, first), rebounding (8.0, sixth) and assist (4.5, third) averages ranked in the top six among all ACC competitors. She became only the fourth player in program history to break the 2,000-point barrier in a midseason game against rival Florida State, and is now ranked No. 10 in all-time conference scoring with 2,204 points.

If Shenise Johnson isn’t deserving of Atlantic Coast Conferece Player of the Year honors, no one is.

Not often will a player exceed at four different positions on the floor, but Johnson has competed at a level well beyond her peers during her tremendous senior campaign. Her 87-game double-digit scoring streak, the longest in the nation, was snapped midway through the season in a double-overtime win over Maryland. How would she respond?

She answered that question only three days later against Florida State, when Johnson led the team with 24 points, guiding her squad to its first win in Tallahassee in over 20 years. It’s performances like those, where Johnson clinched the game in a pressure-packed situation by sinking her final free throws, that make many wonder if there will ever be a player as talented and composed as she in the next decade.

The past two seasons have marked a spectacular run for the program as a whole. Head Coach Katie Meier, who earned Co-National Coach of the Year honors in 2011, has shown an innate ability to strategically conquer any obstacles in her team’s way. The Hurricanes have undoubtedly enjoyed the emergence of stars like Riquna Williams, Stefanie Yderstrom and the aforementioned Stroman, en route to their first Atlantic Coast Conference championship in history (2010-11).

There are many other players in the conference that deserve consideration for the award. Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas and Duke freshman Elizabeth Williams are two competitors who have stood for their impressive play in 2012. All things considered, however, Johnson’s numbers trump all – and it’s not particularly close.

Best free throw percentage in the conference for the second year in a row – that’s Shenise. The most steals (total and average) of any player in the ACC? That honor belongs to her too. How about a 32% clip from behind the arc, along with the best assist/turnover ratio in the conference?

Beyond her numbers, what can never be measured by any statistician is her impact on a basketball program on meteoric rise in Coral Gables. If it weren’t for Johnson, would the Canes have ever risen from the depths of the ACC to the very, very top? How do you coach against a player who can outplay her competition at seemingly every position on the court?

Shenise has got it all. If she doesn’t deserve Player of the Year honors, no one does.