Johnson moving to Chicago

Western Nebraska Community College's Cody Johnson has had a turbulent three years, having undergone two knee surgeries. Still, Johnson kept upbeat and achieved his dream of playing at the Division I level after signing with the University of Loyola Chicago recently.

"Getting to the Division I level has always been my main goal through basketball," Johnson said. "It has always been what I wanted to do and go and play in the NCAA tournament. I have had some hardships in my career where I had two knee surgeries. But if you want something bad enough, you will just work through it."

Loyola Chicago, who will join the Missouri Valley Conference this season in place of Creighton, was a perfect fit for Johnson.

"I decided to sign with Loyola Chicago because they have a great academic record and the basketball fits my style of the game," he said. "They run their offense through their big man. Their leading scorer was their center last year and graduated. They needed a spot to be filled and they wanted me to come in and do that for them."

Loyola Chicago head coach Porter Moser said Johnson will have three years of eligibility and should make an immediate impact.

"Cody brings us some skill and size," Moser said. "He has the size to defend a five man but also can stretch a defense with his shooting ability. Cody is a high character individual who fits the academic profile for Loyola."

At WNCC, Johnson averaged 13 points and eight rebounds a game. He scored in double figures on 19 occasions, four times topping the 20-point plateau. He had a season-high 25 points twice and had seven double-doubles, including hauling in 18 rebounds against Northwest Kansas Technical College.

In addition, Johnson averaged just under one block per game (0.9) and shot .455 (131-of-288) from the field, .369 (31-of-84) from 3-point territory, and .776 (76-of- 98) from the free throw.

Johnson said he persevered because of his willingness to work hard.

"Every year you need to keep working harder and keep getting better," he said. "You can't be content of how you are; you have to always keep working if you want to make it."

Johnson spent two years at WNCC, red-shirting two seasons ago. Before WNCC, Johnson spent a year at the Air Force Prep. He said that he has made a lot of friends, but is also looking at helping Loyola Chicago start a new chapter in the Missouri Valley Conference.

"We [Loyola Chicago] have some big shoes to fill, but with the right group of guys that we have coming in I think we can make a difference," he said. "It will be hard leaving here with the friends that I have made. But I am also excited to look for a new chapter in my life."

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