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280 Kane St. STE #2
South Williamsport, PA
United States

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Wills and Ways

A long time ago in a gymnasium nearby- I was introduced to an extraordinary young man. I had already seen him in action, and I was highly impressed with his skill set. We got to talking and hit it off immediately. His name was Alize Johnson, and I vividly remember that very first conversation. He

A long time ago in a gymnasium nearby- I was introduced to an extraordinary young man. I had already seen him in action, and I was highly impressed with his skill set. We got to talking and hit it off immediately. His name was Alize Johnson, and I vividly remember that very first conversation. He was talented, and I absolutely loved his character. He was a quiet 6’2 lanky sophomore and had this silent swagger. Alize was very respectful, and you could see that this youngster was destined for greatness.

Fast forward a few years and this former St. John Neumann standout continues to amaze. Hopefully, you already know most of his story. Last spring Alize Johnson became the very first from our area to get drafted by the NBA. The second round pick of the Indiana Pacers had a solid rookie season. He spent most of his time recording ridiculous numbers in the Developmental League. Johnson did get the call and played a few minutes for the Pacers. He held is own and continues to work hard on his game. Expect big things in 2019.

This past Saturday- I was in the crowd to see my tall friend and to give him thanks. Alize Johnson, through his foundation, totally revamped the basketball courts on Little League Boulevard. Johnson always had dreams of being an NBA player. He grew up playing at Memorial, Flanigan, and at the Bethune Douglas Center. In a way to give back to the community- he opened three new courts behind Firetree. Johnson’s “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” logo is painted at midcourt and features six NBA-style hoops, bleachers, and a scoreboard.

“I’ve always wanted to build a park,” Johnson said. “If I can do it, you can do it. I grew up on these courts, and I only hope that I can inspire someone someday. This is a way of me giving back to the community that I love and has supported me.”

Alize Johnson signed autographs, posed for countless photos, and got reacquainted with friends. The kickoff featured several basketball games with some of the area’s best. It also served as a reunion of sorts for us old heads. Williamsport greats Isaiah Washington, Ayyub Ali, Cliff Sweeting, Derek Slaughter, and Chevy Troutman were around. I received an honorable mention but didn’t get the nod. There were many alumni from surrounding high schools that included some of Johnson’s former Neumann teammates. I got to catch up with Kevin Anderson from the University of Delaware. San Antonio Spur and Reading native Lonnie Walker also said what’s up.

I gave Alize a chest bump and asked him for a quick picture. He somehow remembered my son’s name, and he now has it in a frame. Jensen immediately called all of his friends when we got home. “I just got a picture with Alize Johnson. He’s in the NBA.” Alize also gave me a shout and welcomed me to the family. I can’t go into details folks. It’s not Facebook official.

Alize Johnson has already given back, but this off the charts sports fan. The young rookie put up $150k of his own money just for this project. Just months after being taken in the 2nd round, he purchased team shoes for Neumann, Williamsport, and Loyalsock. And with his foundation established, he hopes to do much more.

Thank you, Alize. Your dreams are becoming realities. Much love to mom and dad and your other younger siblings too. Congrats and continued successes. Cheers.

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