Johnny Hutton's transformation from role player on Modesto Christian's basketball team to one of the Stanislaus District's top scoring threats has been rewarded. The 6-foot-4 senior forward has signed a letter of intent with St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas.
Hutton had a solid perimeter shot and the size to mix it up inside, averaging 17 points and eight rebounds to help MC to the NorCal semifinals.
"I liked the campus and the coaches (and) I related to the players well," Hutton said.
Hutton has a 3.4 GPA at MC and plans to major in kinesiology. St. Mary's saw some of Hutton's work on video and, according to Hutton, was impressed with his work ethic, size and shooting skill.
Hutton said the prospect of a scholarship motivated him to put in the extra hours of work following his junior season.
"It was definitely a driving factor throughout the year," he said, "I knew I could do it."
Sierra High's Christian Williams, a finalist for The Bee's Player of the Year after averaging 27 points, seven boards and 4.3 assists, signed a letter of intent with Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. The 6-foot-3 guard shot 55 percent from the floor and 84 percent from the line. Jackson State was 18-15 last season and Williams will be the only Californian on the team.
It was a big day for the Southern League, as two athletes signed letters of intent. Denair's 6-foot Janay Bankston, a second-team selection on The Bee's All-Stanislaus District volleyball team after finishing second in the Sac-Joaquin Section with 386 kills, signed with Stanislaus State. She is a two-time league MVP.
Emily MacLaren of Turlock Christian committed to play soccer for Biola University of La Mirada. A two-time all-SL pick, she has played the last seven years with Modesto Ajax — the regional representative at the US Club Championships the last two years.
She plays on the back line for Ajax and will likely play the same position with Biola.
Johansen High's Aaron Lucas, a two-way lineman who helped the Vikings to the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I quarterfinals, has committed to Lewis & Clark, an NCAA Division III school in Portland, Ore. The 6-foot, 265-pound Lucas will play football — he was honorable mention on The Bee's All-Stanislaus District Team and a two-way all-Modesto Metro Conference pick — and heave the shot put for the track team.