Johnson named Assistant Basketball Coach at Northern Arizona

The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks and head coach Shane Burcar announced Ben Johnson as the Men’s Basketball newest assistant coach in Flagstaff.

“I would like to thank Head Coach Shane Burcar for this incredible opportunity. I appreciate him taking a chance on me,” Johnson said. “I’m excited to start working with the coaching staff, players & administration, to help them build on the serious momentum they created by their late-season Big Sky Conference tournament run. It’s an exciting time for NAU basketball & I’m grateful & thankful to be a part of it. Go Jacks!”

Ben Johnson joined the San Jose State Spartans in April of 2021 after a five-year stint at the University of Portland, which ended with him coaching the Pilots’ final four games of the 2020-21 season as their interim head coach.

For 10 seasons spanning from 2003 to 2013, Johnson was an assistant coach at Washington State where he took part in just about every role of coaching duties during the stint. As an assistant under Ken Bone, Dick Bennett and three-time National Coach of the Year Tony Bennett, Johnson was known to be an outstanding recruiter with an eye for under the radar talent. He had a major hand in the recruitment and development of NBA Superstar Klay Thompson and NBA World Champion with the San Antonio Spurs, Aron Baynes.

During his time in Pullman, Wash., Johnson helped the Cougars reach back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2007-08, as well as a pair of NIT Tournaments and a national finalist at the 2011-12 CBI Tournament. He coached five players to All PAC-12 honors, including first-teamer Taylor Rochestie and 2012 PAC-12 Most Improved Player, Brock Motum.

A member of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Hall of Fame, Johnson made his name known as both a player and coach for the Phoenix. In 1991, he was the team captain for the first team in program history to make the NCAA Tournament. Johnson returned to the Phoenix in 1995 as an assistant coach and helped lead the team to a 25-4 overall record including a 16-0 mark in conference play and a spot in their third-straight NCAA Tournament. He remained on staff at UW-Green Bay until 2002.

In 2002, Johnson began his first of two stints as a head coach at the international level. For the 2002 and 2003 seasons he was the head coach and program director for Indigenous North Basketball (Kuiyam Pride) of the Queensland Basketball State League, where he recruited and coached future NBA player Nathan Jawai. Johnson returned to Australia for another stint from 2013-16 as the South State Head Coach and Program Director for Basketball Queensland where he oversaw development and coached the top high-performance athletes of Queensland, many of which played or currently play at the NCAA Division I level.

Ben and his wife, Nicky, have two children – Samira and Aziah.

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