MeSean Johnson Heads To Potsdam College Basketball Ready
BY DAVE SHEA
Commitment has been one of the major watchwords for the superlative OFA Athletic Career for Blue Devil senior basketball-football standout MeSean Johnson.
Johnson, who rewrote the OFA Baseball record for assists in a career, recently made two major commitments in his athletic and personal maturity.
After drawing recruiting interests from several schools Johnson committed to play college basketball at SUNY Potsdam.
In face of the turmoil created across the country by the COVID-19 virus and the awareness of demonstrations against racial inequality Johnson has taken active, positive roles. As a Junior Staff Member at the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club he has helped prepare meals which are regularly delivered to needy family.
He also made commitment to furthering racial equality and harmony by attending a large peaceful demonstration-march in Potsdam and as the OBGC Youth of the Year he expressed his thoughts in a discussion on race relations headed by OBGC Executive Director Tom Luckie Jr. Also taking part was another OBGC Alumnus and former Blue Devil teammate of Afro-American descent in Anthoni Pope. Pope is a Political Science major at Alfred University
"I was so impressed with the way MeSean and Anthoni spoke. They are so well spoken and thoughtful," said OFA Basketball Coach Mark Henry.
"Racism, hatred, injustice. inequality and injustice must be stopped. It must be immediate. I was really impressed with what MeSean has done and some of our other players have done in other places," said SUNY Potsdam Coach Jim Bechtel.
"I really see a lot of hope for our country. There are a lot of people who feel like I do and our young people have to start right now to make things better," says MeSean.
MESEAN JOINS BEARS' HOOP FAMILY
There are athletes who endear themselves to players, coaches officials and fans to point that they are on a first name basis.
At the local level MeSean Johnson achieved that sign of the utmost respect with the entertaining way he played basketball and football and the way interacted comfortable with people of all ages.
In his three years as a Blue Devil regular MeSean raced well beyond the school record for assists in a career, earned First Team All-NAC Central honors as a junior and a senior, shared the 2020 NAC Central MVP Award with teammate Jackson Jones, earned all-state honors with Jones, was honored as the 2020 Joe Jukoski Memorial Award recipient from the NNY Officials Board and played on four NAC Central Championship teams and two Section 10 Class B Championships.
He lead OFA in assists and steals for the past three seasons and finished his career with 572 assists to better the previous record of 392 which was set by another SUNY Potsdam player in Matt Piercey. As a senior MeSean converted 70 per cent of his shooting attempts averaging 16.3 points per game and finished with 977 career points.
He drew recruiting interest from several schools before committing to play for SUNY Potsdam and Coach Jim Bechtel.
"I have known MeSean since seeing him at the St. Lawrence camps as a youngster. I have watched him develop and we are so happy that he decided to come to Potsdam," says Coach Bechtel who led SUNY Potsdam to its best record in several years in the recently completed season where the Bears also posted an outstanding academic record. The 2019-20 Bears went 20-7, posted a 14-4 SUNYAC season record and went to make the conference's playoff finals.
"Our point guard is graduating and I truly believe that MeSean is coming in as college basketball ready as possible. He is very quick and explosive, a great passer and really gets after people defensively," added Coach Bechtel.
"He has been working very hard to get stronger in the Chris Sargent program and he received great coaching at OFA from Mark Henry and Scott Sargent and their staff. OFA has a great program."
Family was also a major reason for MeSean's decision to attend SUNY Potsdam.
"One of the reasons that I chose Potsdam was that it was close by so my grand parents could attend a lot of games," said MeSean.,
"Also when I visited the school and attended games the players treated me like a member of the team. They have a lot of great players and I can't wait to play their All-American Isaiah Brown."
FOUNDATION FORMED AS FRESHMAN
Coach Henry believes that MeSean's freshman season was extremely important even though his playing time was limited.
"MeSean came up as a freshman and he really benefitted from going up against older players in practice. He took on the challenge to learn and get better. We have had a lot of depth for a long time and we always have great practices. MeSean definitely profitted from that," said Coach Henry.
"He put in the time and did the work and he is still doing it. He not only broke our school assist record but went way past the previous record. He could have scored more but he is so unselfish. I pushed him hard and he responded. And assistant coach Megan Morrison did a lot of work with MeSean on his shooting. MeSean and Megan really worked well together."
Throughout his career his unselfishness and the respectful way he carried himself while developing into an outstanding young man he impressed everyone involved in high school sports.
MeSean looks toward his college basketball career with the same dedication to improve himself.
"I have been working out a lot during the pandemic and since I work at the club I can get my basketball workout in every day. I know I have to improve my shot and I have working very hard at that," said MeSean who been working out with several former Blue Devil athletes including Peyton Lalone who earned All-American honors as a sprinter in the SUNY Cortland Track-Field Program.
MeSean's mother Danielle Denoncourt noted the seriousness of the group's training efforts in a facebook note. "When your son has a friend over and you ask do you guys want pizza and they say no, caesar salad."
"I have been doing Chris Sargent's program to get quicker, stronger and for conditioning and working a lot with Potsdam Coach Michael Martin," says MeSean
MeSean feels his experiences as young athlete coming of age as outstanding student-athlete at OFA has prepared him well for college.
"I got to play on great teams, with great teammates and for great coaches. I also received great support from my family, friends, the school and the community," says MeSean.
"And I owe a lot to Mr. Luckie and the people at the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club."