Junior college signee Jo’Nah Johnson released from Lady Toppers

Lady Topper basketball coach Greg Collins watches his team take on Louisville on Nov. 6. WKU lost 102-80. 

Drake Kizer

The WKU women’s basketball team lost a coveted junior college transfer Monday afternoon, as point guard Jo’Nah Johnson announced that she’d been released from the program without ever playing a single game for the Lady Toppers.

“I have asked and received a release from Western Kentucky University for reasoning involving my family,” Johnson wrote in a tweet posted to her Twitter account. “From now until further notice my recruitment process is now open.”

Johnson’s announcement came not even one month after the guard officially signed with the Lady Toppers on May 7. The junior originally announced her commitment to WKU just over a month ago in a tweet posted to her Twitter account on April 28.

Johnson was set to join the Lady Toppers after her sophomore season at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami, Oklahoma, where she poured in 15 points per game and started all 31 contests. Johnson also ranked 15th among all NJCAA players with 155 assists last year, averaging five per game.

“We are so excited to have Jo’Nah joining us here at WKU. This is a kid that has the potential to be a Power 5 player with her ability on the court, and being able to sign her over interest from Big 12, SEC and other C-USA schools speaks to our history as a program,” head coach Greg Collins said in a press release on May 7. “We are ready to get her here this summer and work her into our system right away.”

Johnson was rated a three-star prospect in the 2017 recruiting class by ESPN. The 5-foot-9 guard would’ve been immediately eligible as a JUCO transfer and had two years of eligibility remaining at WKU, which was set to be her third stop in as many years during her college career.

Instead, Johnson becomes the second offseason departure for Collins, joining Arame Niang, who left the program on May 10 to join former Lady Topper head coach Michelle Clark-Heard at Cincinnati.

With Johnson’s departure, Collins’ 2019 recruiting class also shrinks back down to just three signees, all of which signed during the the early signing period. Three-star forward Victoria Hunter, guard Torrion Starks and guard De’Myla Brown each inked their commitments with the Lady Toppers in November.

WKU was originally scheduled to return its entire 2018-19 roster other than its three departing seniors, but Collins will now have one less player than he was anticipating in 2019-20. After posting a 20-15 mark in Collins’ first year at the helm, the Lady Toppers will aim to meet or exceed that mark this fall.

Sports Editor Drake Kizer can be reached at 270-745-2653 and [email protected]. Follow Drake on Twitter at @drakekizer_.