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Johnson stays a Lady Bulldog

By Doug Gorman

Mt. Zion basketball player Milan Johnson hasn't even started her senior season, but she already knows where she is going to play college basketball when she graduates.

She let the rest of the world know too by signing a college scholarship Friday afternoon to the University of Georgia.

Mt. Zion's talented senior will join one of the premiere women's programs in the country, and will play for one of the most successful college coaches in Andy Landers.

Since 1995, Landers' teams have been to the NCAA Women's Final Four three times (1995, 96, and 99).

Johnson is glad to get the scholarship signing out of the way before joining her senior year.

"We've gone to team camp at Georgia so I have become familiar with the campus, so signing with Georgia wasn't really that tough of a decision," Johnson said.

A year ago, Johnson averaged 14 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots per game for Mt. Zion.

"We knew as a freshman she was going to be special," said Mt. Zion head coach Edwin Turnipseed. "The more she matured, the better of a player she became. She's is also an outstanding person and that makes it nice too."

Landers, who has won 585 games in 24 seasons as Georgia's head coach is excited to know Johnson will join the Lady Bulldogs for the 2004-2005 season.

"I think Milan is a player with a lot of potential," Landers said. "She does a lot of things very well. She has excellent size. She has a very nice shooting touch. She's an excellent rebounder. She has tremendous potential as a post player. We're excited she'll continue that development at the University of Georgia."

Turnipseed praised Johnson's work habits.

"Milan has worked really really hard to improve," he said. "One of the things she's concentrated on is her footwork, and I can really tell in our pre-season practices that hard work is paying off. Milan has played on our varsity since she was a freshman. We count on her both offensively and defensively. She's the anchor of everything that we do."

Johnson is excited about playing for the Lady Bulldogs and eventually earning a degree in sports medicine.

However, she hasn't lost sight of the fact that the start of her college career is a year away, and there is still some work remaining as a high school basketball player.

A year ago, Johnson and her teammates upended Morrow, pulling off one of the county's biggest upsets.

As for this year, "we want to win the region and go to state and take it from there," she said.