By: Dylan Tehada
Join us in welcoming new player development coach, Hannah Johnson! After spending several years playing overseas in Malta and coaching at her alma mater high school, Bishop Alemany, Johnson joins the UPB staff and seeks to continue spreading her passion for the game of basketball.
Ever since the age of five when Johnson first picked up a basketball, she has been in love with the game and has dedicated her life to playing and teaching the sport. Throughout her childhood, Johnson was a natural hooper and found great success early in her career. She started playing ball at the club level in seventh grade and received her first D1 offer from Pepperdine University in eighth grade. Receiving her first D1 offer was a major turning point for her dedication to basketball as it opened her eyes to the limitless opportunities she could pursue. Johnson found a great deal of success in high school at Bishop Alemany, winning a state championship and California Southern Section Player of the Year in 2013. After racking up the accolades early in her high school career, the collegiate offers came flooding in for Johnson. During her junior year, she had 30 offers from universities around the nation and half of them being from Power 5 schools. The key to Johnson’s early success: work ethic.
“I wasn't always the most talented. I would say not the most athletic. I worked and I just love the game of basketball. I think that's what separated me. I had a really, really big passion for the game,” Johnson said, “I was a workhorse, that's what I always say got me to that next level was just my work ethic.”
After an impressive high school stint, Johnson committed to the University of Washington. During her time with the Huskies, she played with 2017 WNBA first overall pick, Kelsey Plum, and contributed to the program’s first ever Final Four appearance in the 2015-2016 season. After an injury riddled beginning to her collegiate career, Johnson found her footing as an integral player for the Huskies becoming team captain and an everyday starter for the team. Off the court, Johnson was able to study abroad for several weeks teaching the game of basketball to the kids in the villages of Tahiti, received a masters in coaching, interned as a coach at a high school, and went to a coaching clinic during the Final Four.
“There has been a lot of really cool things that the game has given me and that's why I'm here now [at UPB] just giving back to everything the game has given me,” Johnson said.
After an action packed collegiate career, Johnson fulfilled a lifetime goal of hers by going overseas to play professionally in Malta in 2019. Despite dedicating her life to playing ball professionally, there was a caveat to her decision to play in Malta specifically. While talking with her agent, Johnson made it clear that while playing at the professional level was important to her she also sought an opportunity to coach and teach the game. During her time in Malta, Johnson balanced playing with the professional team DePiro and also coaching the under 14 and under 19 team on the island. She embraced every opportunity to teach the girls in Malta how to play ball and this sparked her passion for coaching long term in the future.
Johnson’s long winding basketball journey has led her to UPB where she will be working as a player development coach at the facility. She heard about UPB through mutual friends who have trained with Coach Packie Turner. While she was visiting the University of Washington, Johnson caught up with current head coach of the Huskies, Tina Langley, and talked about her future endeavors and goals. Shortly after, Johnson connected with Coach Packie Turner after being referred by Coach Langley and is now excited to be part of the staff and fulfill her goal of teaching the game. She embraces the tight knit culture of the UPB community and is looking forward to learning from her peers and giving back to the next generation of hoopers.
In addition to her great deal of hooping experience and highly decorated basketball resume, Johnson also is a great role model for young girls looking to play ball. Johnson’s successes and dedication to the game is a prime example that everyone’s potential is unlimited, and she is passionate about empowering young girls to reach new heights through the game of basketball. She is encouraged by the growth of womens’ involvement in basketball whether it be the WNBA gaining more popularity or female athletes using their NIL deals and sponsorships as platforms to make their voices heard. Basketball gave her a great deal of confidence and has taught her so many intangible life skills that she applies to the many facets of her life on and off the court.
“Playing this game gives you kind of a superpower…I think it definitely has has helped me a lot in life and has taught me so much about how to use my voice and work ethic,” Johnson said
Here at UPB we seek to help everyone no matter their background or skill level realize their unlimited potential, and we have no doubt that Johnson will play a vital role in making an impact on the UPB community. We are excited to see her contribution to the next generation of hoopers and are looking forward to hearing her stories and experiences playing ball. As her time with UPB begins, she hopes to instill one piece of advice for the young athletes striving to reach new heights.
“ I would just say my biggest piece of advice is to be open minded. Be open to learning new things. Never give up. If you fail once, try again. If you fail twice, keep trying,” Johnson said.
Julius Randle has been the epitome of constant growth and improvement season after season since his debut in 2014. After an impressive 2022-2023 season with the Knicks averaging 25.1 points per game on 46% shooting, Randle seeks to continue building on last season’s success and contributing to a winning franchise. Although the start of the Knicks’ season has not gone exactly to plan, Randle has showcased his veteran poise and innate ability to continue elevating his game as the long NBA season treads on.