Former McLennan Community College basketball standout guard Vinnie Johnson was one of three inductees named to the 2015 NJCAA Men's Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame class released today.
Best known for his role as the sixth man on Detroit's 'Bad Boys' Pistons team, Vinnie Johnson was one of the best bench players of his era. Earning the nickname 'Microwave' for his ability to heat up quickly and score a flurry points in a short period of time, Johnson was the Pistons' unsung hero during their 1989 and 1990 championship runs. Prior to his days in Detroit, Johnson made a name for himself as a versatile player at McLennan.
Beginning his career with the Highlanders in 1975, Johnson quickly established himself as one of the best two-year players in the nation and earned NJCAA Honorable Mention All-America honors as a freshman. Johnson took his production to the next level as a sophomore, earning first team All-America accolades during the 1976-77 season.
Following his time at McLennan, Johnson decided to stay in Waco and transferred to Baylor. He burst onto the scene once again as an NCAA Second Team All-America selection in his first season of four-year college basketball. In his senior campaign, Johnson led the Southwest Conference in scoring and once again was named a second team All-American. Against TCU, Johnson etched his name in Baylor history setting two single-game school-records with 50 points and 21 field goals made. Ending his career with the Bears as one of the best players in the program's history, Johnson left Baylor ranking second all-time in scoring and still holds the career scoring average record with 24.1 points per game.
After the conclusion of his collegiate career, Johnson was taken by the Seattle Supersonics with the seventh overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft. After showcasing his shooting ability and developing a reputation as one of the league's best rebounding guards, Johnson was traded to Detroit early on in the 1981 season. In just under 10 seasons with the Pistons, Johnson became an integral part of building the franchise into a champion. His most memorable moment came in the deciding Game 5 of the 1990 NBA Finals against the Portland Trailblazers. With 0.7 seconds remaining and Trailblazers forward Jerome Kersey draped over him, Johnson hit a 15-foot jumper to give the Pistons a 92-90 win and their second consecutive NBA title.
Following the 1990-91 campaign, Johnson concluded his career in Detroit and signed with the San Antonio Spurs for one final season. After his basketball career concluded, Johnson remained a valued member of the Detroit community with his contributions to local charities and role as a color analyst on the Pistons radio broadcasts. In 1994, the franchise retired Johnson's No. 15 jersey.
Joining Johnson in the 2015 class are South Plains (Texas) head coach Steve Green and former Northeast Mississippi head coach Audie Arnold.
About the NJCAA
Since 1938 the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has been the governing body of two-year college athletics, offering athletic and academic opportunities to college students. The NJCAA is the second largest national intercollegiate athletic organization in the United States with over 500 member schools in 43 states. Each year nearly 60,000 student-athletes compete in one of 28 different sports and the organization sponsors 48 national championship events and nine football bowl games. NJCAA Headquarters has been located in Colorado Springs, Colo., since 1985. For more information visit www.njcaa.org.