THE Bendigo Bank Braves’ defensive stocks have been given a boost with the signing of dual Mt Gambier Pioneers’ SEABL championship player Damian “DJ” Johnson.
Johnson is the first import signed for the Braves ahead of the 2016 season.
Johnson has played the past two SEABL seasons with the Pioneers, winning not only back-to-back south conference and national championships, but also consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards.
He was a major thorn in the side of the Braves in August’s south conference championship game when he scored a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds in the Pioneers’ 79-65 victory.
The 28-year-old small forward was also selected in this year’s All-SEABL team for a season in which he averaged 15.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
“DJ will be a great asset to the Braves’ program. He brings many skills that don’t always show on the stat sheet, but he plays for the team at all times,” Braves coach Ben Harvey said on Thursday.
Johnson is a former NBA Summer League player with the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timerbolves in 2010.
He also played at Thibodaux High School in Louisiana, where he was named first team All-State in Louisiana as a senior.
Johnson was the All-Bayou Region Player of the Year in 2005, as well as Conference Defensive Player of the Year three times during his high school career, before playing four seasons with the University of Minnesota.
He has also played with the Oita Heat Devils in Japan.