Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber announced the signing of his first recruit on Friday, as Darrell Johnson (St. Louis, Mo./Parkway North) signed a National Letter of Intent with the Wildcats.
“I’m excited to get a recruit of Darrell’s quality this late in the signing period,” said Weber. “He is a player that we have watched for some time and we feel will be a great fit for our team at the power forward spot. He has tremendous physical gifts, including the ability to defend the rim and be a really good shot blocker. We like his toughness and workmanlike attitude from having played both football and basketball. He also hails from a strong high school basketball area in St. Louis, which we hope will become a strong base for our recruiting efforts.”
A 6-foot-8, 235-pound power forward from St. Louis, Mo., Johnson comes to K-State from Parkway North High School, where he earned second team all-state honors as a senior for coach Russell Vincent in 2011-12. He helped the Vikings (21-7) to their first-ever Class 5, District 5 title and a No. 10 final ranking in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch large school classification. In addition to all-state honors, he was named first team All-Suburban South Conference and league co-Defensive Player of the Year as well as to the All-Metro second team by the Post-Dispatch.
Johnson averaged 16.3 points on 64.6 percent shooting (190-of-294) from the field to go with 11.9 rebounds, 5.0 blocks, 1.6 steals and 1.2 assists per game in 28 games as a senior. He led the Vikings in points, field goal percentage, rebounding and blocks, while he ranked among the area leaders in both blocks (second) and rebounding (fourth). He collected 18 double-doubles in 2011-12, while he tallied nine 20-point games, three 20-rebound games and 14 games of five or more blocked shots. He also registered triple-doubles on back-to-back nights, including a 19-point, 15-rebound, 14-block effort vs. Summit on Jan. 3 and a 14-point, 11-rebound, 10-block performance vs. Hazelwood West on Jan. 4. His 14 blocks vs. Summit were a season-high.
Johnson scored a season-high 31 points on 15-of-19 field goals vs. Howell Center to go with 20 rebounds on Feb. 14, while he totaled a season-best 25 rebounds vs. Parkway Central on Feb. 22. He had an all-around strong effort in helping Parkway North to its first district title vs. De Smet on Feb. 24, collecting 12 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.
A multi-sport athlete, Johnson also excelled for the Vikings on the football field, where he spent time as both a tight end and defensive end. He ranked fourth on the team in tackles in 2011 with 45, including 27 solo stops, while he tied for the team lead with four sacks. He also returned a fumble for 18 yards.
Johnson selected K-State over a number of scholarship offers, including those from Alabama, Colorado State, Memphis, Minnesota and Virginia Tech.
Johnson becomes the 18th player from St. Louis in K-State history, including current sophomore Nino Williams.
Weber also announced that fall signee Laimonas Chatkevicius (Klaipeda, Lithuania/South Kent [Conn.] Prep) has requested and received an unconditional release from his Letter of Intent and is free to sign with another institution.
K-State will return 12 lettermen, including seven with starting experience, in 2012-13. The Wildcats posted a 22-11 overall record this past season, including a 10-8 mark to finish fifth in Big 12 play, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons. It was the school’s unprecedented sixth consecutive 20-win season and sixth straight appearance in the postseason.
Fans sold out Bramlage Coliseum for the second consecutive year in 2011-12, becoming one of just 14 schools to draw over 12,000 in paid attendance for every regular season home game over the last two seasons (Kentucky, Syracuse, Louisville, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan State, New Mexico, Vanderbilt, Creighton). Fans interested in joining the season ticket wait-list may call the K-State Ticket Office at 800.221.CATS, or visit www.kstatesports.com. Ticket availability will be determined after the season ticket renewal period in June.