Lawrence Demetric Johnson (born March 14, 1969) is an American retired basketball player who spent his professional career in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks. He played the power forward position due to his strength.
In his senior year of high school Johnson was a member of the 1987 McDonald's High School All-American Team that also included future NCAA and NBA stars like Marcus Liberty, Elliot Perry, Mark Macon, Rodney Monroe, Dennis Scott, Elmore Spencer, Chris Corchiani, and fellow Texas prep star LaBradford Smith. Johnson originally made a verbal commitment to Southern Methodist University, but began his collegiate career at Odessa College in Texas. He played in the 1987–88 and 1988–89 seasons where he averaged 22.3 points per game as a freshman and over 29 points per game his sophomore year, and became the first—and to this day, only—player ever to win the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1 Player of the Year award both years he played. There were even some basketball analysts who believed Johnson could have been a first round selection in the 1989 NBA draft (even a possible NBA lottery selection) if he had declared for early entry.
Johnson eventually transferred to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) to play under head coach Jerry Tarkanian. Alongside future NBA players Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony, Johnson faced the Duke Blue Devils in the title game of the 1990 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. UNLV went on to win the contest by a score of 103–73, with Johnson contributing 22 points and 11 rebounds. The Runnin' Rebels set simultaneous NCAA records for the largest margin of victory and highest score in an NCAA Tournament championship game.
In a post-season mired by charges of recruiting violations and misconduct by UNLV, an agreement was reached between the university and the NCAA to allow for the defense of their title for the 1990–91 season, which would be followed by a suspension from post-season play the following season. Johnson and the Runnin' Rebels responded with a perfect regular season record of 27–0, with an average scoring margin of 26.7 points per game; this total included a 112–105 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks, ranked second in the country at the time.
In the 1991 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, UNLV won the West Regional Tournament only to be upset by eventual champion Duke in the Final Four. Johnson was named a First Team All-American twice, and won the Big West Conference Player of the Year and tournament Most Valuable Player awards in 1990 and 1991. He also won the prestigious John R. Wooden Award and was named Naismith College Player of the Year in 1991. To this day, Johnson is ranked 12th in career scoring and 7th in rebounding at UNLV despite playing only two seasons. He also holds the record for single-season and career field goal percentage. In 2002, Johnson and teammates Augmon and Anthony were inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame along with the 1990–91 UNLV men's basketball team. To date they are the only UNLV team to make back-to-back Final Four appearances.
Full Name at Birth
Larry Demetric Johnson
Date of Birth
1 November 1991
Drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1st round (27th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft.
Claim to Fame
Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks