WKU senior forward Justin Johnson was named one of 10 finalists Thursday for the 2017-18 Senior CLASS Award, making him the first finalist from Hilltopper Basketball since the award’s inception.
Johnson – a 6-foot-7 native of Hazard, Ky. – was chosen among 30 candidates previously announced in January. To be eligible for the award, student-athletes must be classified as NCAA Division I seniors and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner, and fans can vote for Johnson once daily from each of their devices through March 19 using this link: http://goto.ps/2nMltiO
Fan votes will be combined with those of the media and Division I head coaches to determine the winners. The Senior CLASS Award recipients will be announced during the 2018 NCAA Men’s Final Four.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Johnson has been a standout on the court for the Hilltoppers for four years and a strong presence in the community for just as long.
He ranks 17th on WKU’s all-time scoring list with 1,442 career points and eighth on the all-time rebounding list with 919 career boards.
Johnson is one of just four active NCAA players with at least 1,400 career points and 900 rebounds. He’s ranked seventh among active NCAA players for career rebounds and tied for 11th in career double-doubles (32).
Johnson also showed off his natural athleticism this year by spending spring practice, summer workouts and the beginning of fall camp with the football team as a tight end before returning to basketball in August.
Johnson graduated in just three years with a bachelor's degree in sport management. He's now pursuing his master's degree in intercollegiate athletic administration. He's been named multiple times to the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll for student-athletes with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.
Johnson, a team captain, has been a steady leader for the WKU program through years of coaching and roster turnover. He is one of just two active players returning from last year and is the team's only four-year player.
He also worked tirelessly in the offseason to return from both knee surgery and deliberate weight gain, both of which were attributed to his time spent with the football team. Johnson often worked out four times a day in the offseason to shed the weight he gained purposefully for football and to rehab his knee back into playing shape.
Johnson has been a staple of the community since he arrived at WKU. He's taken multiple mission trips to Belize and China, where he's spent time with underprivileged children in addition to playing games. He did the same this August in Costa Rica, where he played with children at a local orphanage during WKU's foreign tour.
Johnson has also volunteered to work with senior citizens at Bowling Green Retirement Village, spoken at youth basketball games during the playing season, visited with special needs children from the city's Camp Happy Days in previous years and volunteered several times for the United Way Day of Caring, including time with the area Boys & Girls Club.
Across men's basketball, women's basketball, football and volleyball, WKU is the only school in the nation with Senior CLASS finalists in multiple sports. Johnson is joined from WKU by volleyball finalist Jessica Lucas.