Hillcrest's Ambrica Johnson signs with Buccaneers
Thu. May 16, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
TUSCALOOSA | Ambrica Johnson won’t travel far from home to go to college, but she hopes a two-year commitment will lead to a four-year opportunity.
A senior at Hillcrest High School, Johnson recently signed to play basketball at Shelton State Community College.
"I wanted to go to Shelton to stay close to home with my family," Johnson said. "They have a good program, and they also have a good coach (Madonna Thompson). I think I made a good decision."
Johnson, who wants to become a computer technician, is somewhat familiar with the recruiting process. Her sister, Dominisha, was a post player who graduated from Hillcrest in 2006 and went on to play at Alabama A&M.
"It was a really big step for me," the younger Johnson said. "I was really excited to sign with Shelton State. I would just like to thank my family and my coaches who have helped me throughout this year to get better and go to Shelton.
"I’d better be ready, and (Thompson) is going to get me ready over the summer. She said that I’ll be a good contributor to her system. I want to learn more so I can be able to go to a four-year college and play with the big girls."
Shelton State posted a 33-1 record last season. The Lady Bucs won the Alabama Community College Conference title and reached the quarterfinal round of the NJCAA tournament in Kansas.
The 5-foot-8 Johnson played four seasons on the Hillcrest varsity for coach Jerome Elliott. During her senior season, she averaged 15 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. She also shot 71 percent from the foul line.
Elliott said Johnson was versatile enough to be a post player early in her career before settling in as a guard.
"The last two years she’s been able to play a little bit more at the perimeter," Elliott said. "Her experience as far as inside-out has been invaluable to us. I think that’s going to pay dividends for her on down the line.
"She’s going to a great program over at Shelton; great coaches with Madonna and Chris (Sanford). They’re getting a kid that’s going to work really hard and a kid that’s not going to be any problem on or off the court. She’s a great person who comes from a great family."
Reach Andrew Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-72-0223.