Monday, May 23, 2011

N.C. State boosts backcourt with Bakersfield transfer

Alex Johnson's Twitter handle is "supermanjohnson" but the point guard is looking to help N.C. State's basketball team, not save them.

Johnson, who averaged 13.3 points per game last season for Cal State Bakersfield, said Monday he is going to transfer to N.C. State for his final college season. Johnson said he will graduate in June and pursue a masters degree at State, which means he will be eligible for the upcoming season.

The Wolfpack, which lost point guards Javier Gonzalez and Ryan Harrow, needs guard help for coach Mark Gottfried's first team. Sophomore Lorenzo Brown is the only ball-handler on the roster.

"It's a great opportunity," said Johnson, who's 5-10 and 170 pounds. "I'm excited about it. I think it's a great situation for me."

Johnson, who is from Toronto, averaged 93. points in three seasons for the Roadrunners, a Division I independent. He took a medical redshirt before his junior season at Bakersfield after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He returned in 2010-11 to average 13.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game with 26 starts.

He was prolific from 3-point range with 228 attempts (and made 79), which would have ranked second in the ACC in attempts and was 56 more than State's leader in the category (Scott Wood).

Johnson doesn't anticipate taking that many 3s for the Wolfpack.

"It all depends on what the coaches want me to do," Johnson said. "I'll go with the flow and do what the team needs."

The addition of Johnson and Belgian power forward Thomas de Thaey likely ends Gottfried's recruiting search for the class of '11. The Pack is bringing in four new players with wing Tyler Harris and guard Jaqwan Raymond, who committed under former coach Sidney Lowe.

Neither Harris nor Raymond play the point, though, which makes Johnson's addition important for the Pack, which went 15-16 last season.

Johnson said he thinks he'll fit into Gottfried's style of play.

"He wants to play up tempo," Johnson said. "I think I can help them push the ball and get guys open shots and knock down some shots."

Johnson's the second post-graduate transfer in the Triangle in as many years. North Carolina added forward Justin Knox last summer after he graduated from Alabama.

-- J.P. Giglio


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