ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — College letter of intent signings are always big moments for high school athletes. There was a signing Wednesday in Rockford that was more special than most.
That’s becasue the young man who signed with Division III Eureka College is Auburn basketball player Haniefe Johnson. He was Auburn’s leading scorer last season averaging more than 13 points per game. But he missed Auburn’s regional basketball game opener early in March because the morning of the game he was shot while he was sleeping in his home. It was a random drive-by shooting that police still haven’t solved. Johnson suffered bullet wounds in one ankle and another bullet grazed a knee.
Johnson has spent the spring and summer rehabbing the ankle. It’s not 100 percent yet, but it’s getting there. Despite the injury Eureka stood by Johnson and still wanted him on the team.
“They’ve been on me since they saw me play (before the injury). I’m just glad they followed through, and I got the chance to sign with them,” said Johnson.
Johnson’s mother Jamila Baker was at his side when he signed Wednesday. “I’m so happy that he overcame that situation, and he’s able to continue his basketball career going off to school.”
“What Eureka likes about him is what we needed him for,” said Auburn basketball coach Bryan Ott. “He’s a dynamic scorer. He can hit the three. He can get to the basket. He can create in there and dish to other people as well as get his own shot off at different angles.”
Johnson leaves for Eureka this Sunday to begin his freshman year.