International Aspirations

[Photo courtesy of Lafayette Athletic Communications]
Tony Johnson ‘13 graduated sixth in all-time assists and fourth in all-time steals at Lafayette with 375 and 160 respectively. 

[Photo courtesy of Lafayette Athletic Communications] Tony Johnson ‘13 graduated sixth in all-time assists and fourth in all-time steals at Lafayette with 375 and 160 respectively. 

Nicholas Gates

Tony Johnson ‘13 graduated sixth in all-time assists and fourth in all-time steals at Lafayette with 375 and 160 respectively.

Alum finds new home away from home in South America

Photo courtsy of Lafayette Athletic Communications

Recent Lafayette alum Tony Johnson ’13 is making moves in the world of professional, international basketball. The California native recently signed with Fuerza Regia located in Monterrey, Mexico where he will seek the continued success on the court that he has established throughout his time at Lafayette.

However, professional ball isn’t totally new to Johnson, who joins his new team with a year of international experience already under his belt. Upon graduating from Lafayette, Johnson moved to Holland where he played for the SPM Shoeters Den Bosch of the Dutch Basketball League.

Tony quickly adjusted to the culture of life in Holland. Being one of only four American players on his team, Tony was surprised to find that most people spoke English.

“It’s a beautiful country that is pretty Americanized,” Johnson said.

On the court, the adjustments continued as Johnson began to adapt to the vast differences between college and professional basketball.

Players are bigger, faster, stronger, and much more athletic,” Johnson said. “All of the players have a very high basketball IQ,” explained the point guard, referring to his new teammates.

The challenges on the court did not stop Johnson, a player who is not unused to success. Johnson graduated from Lafayette after making team history, finishing fourth all-time in steals and sixth in assists. Just as he did at Lafayette, Johnson led his DBL team to the league finals, averaging 9.1 points per game on top of 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals. Playing along-side some of his closest friends, Johnson views his experiences in the finals as one of his most memorable moments on the court.

Back in Easton, Men’s Basketball Coach Fran O’Hanlon hasn’t been surprised by Johnson’s continued athletic success. To Coach O’Hanlon, Tony was one of those players who did it all. “He was just a winner,” O’Hanlon said.

While he acknowledges that Johnson’s graduation was a loss to the team, he understands that it is always part of the adjustment in college.

O’Hanlon, who spent twelve years playing abroad, speaks highly of the opportunities that international basketball provides young players. It was through O’Hanlon’s summer tour, that Johnson got his first taste of playing abroad.

The fact that he gave us the opportunity to go as a team to Europe during that summer really helped make my decision easier,” Johnson said. “Once I was able to see Europe and how different and how much opportunity there was to get paid to play the sport I love.”

Now in Mexico, Johnson is looking forward to settling in and experiencing as much as he can. But what does the future hold for the talented young point guard? For now, he is enjoying life as a professional athlete but would consider leaving it behind at some point for a job in finance or venture capitalism.