Montini's Michala Johnson commits to Connecticut

Tribune reporter

Montini junior Michala Johnson made an oral commitment Wednesday to play college basketball at national power Connecticut.

Johnson, a 6-3 forward who sat out this season with a torn ACL in her left knee, called UConn coach Geno Auriemma at lunch Wednesday inform him of her plans. She had visited the campus on March 16.

She said she initially was nervous about the visit to the five-time national champion but felt comfortable after meeting the team and Auriemma, whom she called "a nice man, very funny."

"I felt it was the right decision," Johnson said. "I was comfortable around the team and with the coaches, and I really liked the campus. I was excited to know UConn still wanted me to come there even though I didn't play this season."

Johnson was a first-team Tribune All-State selection as a sophomore after averaging 18.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.9 blocks while leading Montini to third place in Class 3A. She injured her knee in July and spent the summer and fall rehabilitating.

As a junior, she played in only one game – Nov. 26 against Von Steuben – in which she reinjured the knee, then underwent surgery in January. She is strengthening her leg and hopes to be running and practicing by May.

She likely will not play competitively until the start of her senior season, during which Montini again should be a 3A favorite.

Johnson chose UConn over Georgia, Maryland, Vanderbilt and Penn State. She made the final decision one day after the Huskies, NCAA Final Four participants six of the last nine seasons, defeated Florida to advance to the Sweet 16.

UConn has received two other commitments from the junior class--Dayton (Ohio) Chaminade Julienne's Samarie Walker and Stefanie Dolson of Minisink Valley High (N.Y.). All three are ranked in the top 20 in the junior class by ESPN HoopGurlz. Johnson said it is undetermined where she might fit into the Huskies' lineup.

"When I got there, I asked what position I would play at, and [Auriemma] said he doesn't know," Johnson said. "He said he would put me in the gym, and if he sees I can shoot, he'll tell me to shoot. If he sees I can post up, he'll tell me to post up.

"I want to work on everything, my shooting and dribbling, so when I get there, I can show him that I can do all these things that he needs me to do."

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad