It’s true that Hebron Christian is looking to a rookie as its new head boys basketball coach.
However, it’s also true that in 29-year-old Brandon Johnson, the Lions are getting an enthusiastic young coach who has learned at the feet of some of the best fundamental coaches in Georgia over the past two decades.
His first coach was his father Bill, who coached him at Shiloh Hills Christian School in Kennesaw.
But after four years of serving as a student assistant and student manager at Shorter University in Rome and another season as a varsity assistant girls coach at Pepperell High School, Johnson found his way to Greater Atlanta Christian.
There, he has spent the last seven seasons as head eighth-grade boys coach, and a varsity assistant coach, learning under ultra-successful head coaches Eddie Martin and David Eaton.
“Being under someone like Eddie Martin, who has had so much success coaching, it’s a blessing,” Johnson said. “And David Eaton has also taught me a lot. You can’t ask for better people to learn coaching from. I’ve learned so much under those guys.”
Hebron athletics director Taylor Davis is also excited about Johnson’s potential as a coach, though he is equally excited about other aspects of leadership that he brings to the job.
“Coach Johnson’s energy and passion for the game is unparalleled to anything I have seen,” Davis said. “In addition to coaching, what I love our about Brandon is the fact that he cares deeply for his players and for making an impact on and off the court. Looking forward to seeing how our young men will be impacted physically and spiritually in the years to come.”
Johnson inherits a Hebron team that went 39-41 during the past three seasons under former coach Derrick Heberling, who resigned at the end of this past season to spend more time with his family.
However, the Lions were on the upswing in recent seasons, posting a 15-12 record in 2018-19 — only the fourth winning season in the program’s GHSA history, as well as make the program’s fifth state tournament appearance, including just the fourth trip to the Sweet 16, all of which have occurred since the 2011-12 season.
“Derrick did a good job of laying the foundation,” Johnson said. “Just a first look at the players and watching film, I see a lot of potential. The intensity and enthusiasm they show on defense transfers over to the offensive side, and that’s kind of what we hung our hats on over at GAC.”