THURSDAY, DECEMBER 08, 2011
Desarae Johnson signs professional contract in Europe
Johnson becomes the third player all-time to play professionally.
Johnson becomes the third player all-time to play professionally.
Former JU women’s basketball player Desarae Johnson (2006-10) got an early Christmas present by signing a professional contract to play for the Loyola Basketball Club in Malta (southern Europe).

Johnson becomes the third Dolphin all-time to sign a professional contract and the second player in the last three months. Taneskei Richardson (2008-11) signed with the HyPo Koris (Hyvinkaa Ponteva) in Finland in September, while Kat Sungy (1999-03) played for the Dublin-based Tolka Rovers in the Irish Basketball Association during the 2003-04 season.

“I am really happy for Desarae and the opportunity that she has to go overseas and continue her career, JU head coach Jill Dunn said. “Des was someone that worked every day to get better while she was at JU. I am happy to see that her hard work is paying off.”

As a senior in 2009-10, the Greer, S.C. native produced 35 blocks en route to finishing second all-time with 127 rejections. She also ranks in the top 10 all-time rebounds (524) and field goal percentage (.414).

Johnson finished the season third in scoring with 8.0 points a contest and had a team-best 7.1 rebounds. She had four double-doubles, highlighted by a 12-point and 13-rebound effort at Wake Forest. Johnson also had 22 steals.

“I loved my time at JU and I definitely miss being a part of it,” Johnson said. “It was a time filled with ups and downs that molded me not only as a player, but as a person. My coaches and teammates were patient with me and helped me conquer the mental aspect of the game and showed me that hard work truly does payoff.

“The idea of playing basketball overseas never crossed my mind until I was injured my senior year, causing me to miss half the season. Once I did make up my mind to pursue a career overseas, it became difficult, being that I hadn't played in a year due to graduation. Despite it all, I've truly been blessed with an opportunity to play professionally abroad. I will try my best to make my Jacksonville family proud.”

The current Dolphins take on Bowling Green State on Sunday in Ohio at 2 p.m. EST. Fans can follow the action through the live links on JUDolphins.com.