Ridley guard commits to Dalhousie
Dolu Johnson appears to have found the perfect fit in Dalhousie University.
The 6-foot-4 guard for the Ridley Tigers recently committed to the Halifax school where he will study business management and have a good chance to make an immediate impact on the court.
“I’ve had my eye on Dalhousie since Grade 11 when I started looking into recruiting,” the Caledonia native said. “I looked into all the other top schools in Canada but coach (Rick) Plato reached out to me and he’s really shown love for me and my family.”
Johnson said a visit to the school sealed the deal.
“I fell in love with the campus,” he said. “My mom and I fell in love with the place. It felt like home right after I went on that visit so it made the decision a littler easier for us.
“The fact he was able to get me on that visit was really good to get a feel before going there which I know a lot of people in the past two years haven’t had the luxury of doing. That was a really big plus. That is something we can’t take for granted now after what we’ve gone through the past couple of years.”
Johnson said Dalhousie’s personal touch also played a factor.
“The main thing that stood out was their support system,” he said. “They have people supporting you for academics, athletics, if you have to go somewhere to get something done. They have a whole support system and they care about each and every one of their athletes. I feel that’s very important when picking a school.”
Johnson is confident he can make the jump to the next level on the court.
“After talking to the coach he let me know that coming in as a freshman I’m going to have a pretty big role,” Johnson said. “Whatever tasks he gives me I’m willing to put in 100 per cent effort.
“It comes down to how much work you put in on and off the court.”
Ridley Prep coach Tarry Upshaw feels Johnson has all the tools to be a wonderful university player.
“He’s the captain and a really, really good leader,” Upshaw said. “He has to get a little more consistent jump shot but he’ll be able to get on the floor right away because he has the ability to defend and he’s fearless. With him being very physical, his body is ready to play university.”
Upshaw also feels Plato, a native of Ridgeway, is a perfect coach for Johnson.
“I think he made the best decision possible. Dal for him is a perfect fit with the way they play and the coach. Coach Rick Plato is a hard-nosed guy who wants people to play hard and Dolu is all those things. He’s a tough kid who backs down from no one and is ready to battle every single second.”
Johnson joined Ridley in Grade 10, following in the footsteps of older brother Tomi Johnson, who also played for Upshaw.
“I think the combination of being a rigourous academic school and going through a long schedule of high-level academics and then on top of that a high-level of athletics really taught me time management and nothing is going to be easy in order to succeed,” Johnson said. “There is no real easy way out. Learning that in high school was much, much better than learning that in university. I think that’s a huge plus Ridley put me through. I’m not going to say every part was fun, but it was definitely worth it.”
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