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Southern to rename court in honor of Avery Johnson Saturday afternoon

Feb 1, 2013, 3:17 PM EDT

Avery Johnson AP

Southern University will honor one of the program’s greatest players on Saturday, renaming the F.G. Clark Activity Center court in honor of Avery Johnson during a ceremony at halftime of their game against Grambling State.

Johnson, most recently head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, played two seasons at the SWAC school and won conference Player of the Year honors in both 1987 and 1988. Johnson dished out 20 assists or more in a game four times during his two seasons at Southern after transferring in from Cameron University (an NAIA school located in Lawton, Oklahoma).

A native of New Orleans, the “Little General” would go on to play 16 seasons in the NBA with his most noteworthy years coming with the San Antonio Spurs. Johnson’s baseline jumper in Game 5 of the 1999 NBA Finals clinched the franchise’s first NBA title.

But even with his achievements at the professional level, Johnson remains grateful for his time at Southern and looks forward to Saturday’s ceremony.

“We (he and his wife Cassandra) are just really honored to be a part of what we’re looking at as a celebration of hard work,” Johnson said in the release. “We’ll be able to share in that celebration with a lot of friends and family.”

In some cases there’s a concern that the visiting team can spoil the fun on a day like this one, but with all due respect to Grambling State that won’t be an issue Saturday. Grambling State (0-18) is the lone Division I team yet to win a game this season, with inexperience and roster issues proving to been too much for a team that didn’t play its first home game until January 6.

On that day Southern beat Grambling State 82-43, with the Tigers scoring just 12 points in the first half. Averaging just over 20 turnovers per game, the 2012-13 campaign has been one those associated with the program will want to forget as soon as its over.

With that in mind, Saturday sets up to be a good day for Southern to welcome back one of its greatest players.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej

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