Former men’s basketball forward
Kannard Johnson reached many milestones while playing at WKU from
Johnson is the only Topper in
history to earn All-Sun Belt Conference honors for four straight
years and currently sits seventh on WKU’s all-time scoring
His honors and achievements during
his tenure will be recognized at Homecoming this weekend with his
induction into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Johnson said the acknowledgement
“means everything” to him.
“It means that the work that I did
there is very well appreciated,” Johnson said. “It’s probably the
best honor — the most important honor that I could’ve received in
my life so far.”
However, Johnson said he expected
nothing less of himself than to go out and perform the way he
“I was highly recruited coming out
of high school,” Johnson said. “I was known as a scorer and as a
pretty good offensive basketball player when I played.”
Johnson played to his potential,
setting the WKU record for games started. He remains third on that
list to this date.
Former men’s basketball player Steve
Miller, who played with Johnson for three years, said Johnson’s
hard work ethic was visible from the moment he arrived on the
“I’ll never forget coach (Clem
Haskins) walking me in to the gym and pointing to Kannard saying,
‘He got a lot of awards as a freshman,’” Miller said. “He said he
led the Sun Belt in a couple of categories and pointed out that
he’s right there working on his game still.
“It was a heck of a sight to see a
guy that fit with all his physical gifts still working on his game
early in the summer.”
Johnson used those gifts and
athleticism to lead the Toppers in dunks all four years, including
setting the single-game school record with six.
However, probably the biggest moment
in Johnson’s career was a buzzer-beater he hit against West
Virginia to give WKU a 64-62 victory in the opening round of the
1987 NCAA tournament.
“That was a really, really special
moment,” Johnson said. “That play wasn’t even designed for me. For
Tellis (Frank) to see me wide open and hit that shot was pretty
special, most importantly because we advanced to the next
Johnson’s teammate and former WKU
guard Brett McNeal said it was Johnson’s composure in atmospheres
similar to the West Virginia game that made him such a special
“He always seemed poised and he
always seemed relaxed,” McNeal said. “He was always very, very
confident about his playing ability and what he was capable of
Johnson’s confidence and poise came
from the fact that he simply “loved” the four years he played at
Former men’s basketball trainer
Randy Deere said he could tell Johnson loved the game from the
moment he met him.
“He knew that he could use the game
to better himself, and that’s what he did,” Deere said. “He took
the opportunity that was afforded him and made the best of