By Brandon Perry, Athletic Director

The cheers and the squeak of sneakers are coming to an end for the 2023-2024 basketball season at Johnson University. I am actually writing this article at the Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament after watching our men defeat Milligan University and waiting for the tip of our women against Pikeville University. The 2023-2024 basketball season will be remembered as a historic year for both programs as the men’s and women’s teams showcased remarkable prowess, determination, and sportsmanship, leaving an indelible mark on the JU athletic legacy. Both teams ended the season with the highest finish since moving to the AAC in 2021.

First-year Head Coach Logan Sharp led the Royals to a 4th place finish in the regular season and walks into postseason play with high aspirations after a 16-12 overall record and 14-10 in conference play. The Royals were led this season by Toris Woods who claimed first team All-AAC while averaging 17.2 points per game. Malique Oates brought in 11.5 ppg and claimed 6.4 rebounds on his way to being named second team All-ACC. The big surprise of the year with quick acclamation was freshman Dallas Carbaugh who won AAC Freshman of the Year after averaging 11.4 ppg. Isaiah Poore was also named to the AAC All-Defensive team.

Men’s and Women’s Basketball finish the season strong

The women’s team, led by second-year Head Coach Bryon Lawhon, also made some history as they finished the season in 5th place with an overall record of 17-12 and 15-7 in AAC play. The Lady Royals were lead by AAC Freshman of the Year and first team All-ACC member Hannah Jones who averaged 17.1 ppg in her first season at Johnson. She was joined on the first All-AAC team by Jordan Heifner who averaged 15.3 ppg and was named to the All-Defensive team. The AAC All-Freshman team also featured Emily Wilson and Bekah Gardner.

While the historic nature of the season is incredible, it is the quality of the teams as members of the Johnson community that is most impressive. Twelve members of the two teams qualified for the All-Academic teams which is reserved for those with a 3.25 GPA or higher and who have competed more than one year in AAC (we have an additional 13 freshman who are above the 3.25 standard). The teams played with class and determination all season. With two young coaches and young teams, we believe that Royals Basketball is poised to compete in the AAC for some time.