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St. Edward's Head Coach Andre Cook is reminded of a familiar NBA player when he watches his own star, Shimeek Johnson.
"He is the Kevin Durant-type at our level. He's 6'7," has probably a 6'11" wingspan, can handle the basketball, can shoot the three, can post up,” Cook said. “He is really the whole package."
He's a package St. Edward's is lucky to have, but one whose road to the Division II School was a long and winding one.
After high school in Albany, New York, he signed with Fairfield and played one season under now-Providence head coach Ed Cooley.
He realized it wasn't the place for him, and left the northeast only to find a home in the Lone Star State.
"I didn't think I'd be in Texas at all, but I'm here and I'm happy I came here,” Johnson said. “I'm under a good coach, a nice program, everyone around here, nice community. It's a family-like campus. I like it a lot."
The versatile forward goes by "Shi," and is the Hilltoppers leading scorer. Just recently, the senior became the 26th member of the 1,000-point club at St. Ed's.
"I'm really not excited about that, though,” Johnson said. "I'd rather have a winning season than score than many points."
It's that kind of selfless attitude his coach says he'll miss most about the senior who can seemingly do-it-all.
"His personality, his charm, the fact that he brings a smile to everyone's face, the way he plays with my three-year-old son. Those things,” Cook said.
"Obviously, I'll miss 1,300, 1,400 points, whatever he ends up with, but his personality, his charm and charisma more than even the basketball stuff."
Johnson hopes to play professionally somewhere beginning next season. He says he'd be fine playing overseas, but if he's in the United States, he wants to make his home in Austin--a place he has grown to love.