Anthony Johnson and wife Shaunte Nance-Johnson will play for Montana

While it's not completely official, both Anthony Johnson and his wife Shaunte Nance-Johnson will be playing hoops for the University of Montana next year.

It's been a long trip to this level for both of them, especially for Anthony. At one point, he was completely out of organized basketball; then he met Shaunte. For their incredible story, read this article in the Tacoma Weekly.

At Stadium [High School], Johnson wasn’t much of a standout on the court or in the classroom. As a senior, he averaged just more than 12 points per game while the Tigers went 6-15 and finished in seventh place in the Narrows League Bay Division. Not exactly the kind of performance that gets you noticed at the next level.

On his report cards, things were even worse. Not showing up for class on a regular basis, Johnson saw his cumulative grade-point average during his time in high school come out as a 1.6. Needless to say, there weren’t a lot of opportunities awaiting him after graduation.

In 2005, though, while he was spending the year at home helping his mom and brother around the house, the most important event of his life happened. He started dating Nance. After that, things just started to change for him.

Not sure what he was doing or could do with his life, Nance was there as someone who believed in him. She pushed him to become better not only as a basketball player but as a person as well.

“She noticed something in me,” Johnson said. “She figured in her mind that I could play college basketball while at the time I was ready to give it up.”

Nance, then playing basketball on a full-ride scholarship to Northwest Nazarene University (NNU), watched Johnson play at the YMCA and knew that his time on the hardwood wasn’t over.

“He had an amazing shot, it was something I envied,” Nance said. “His dedication to the game was a big thing. I knew once he put his mind to it, the sky was the limit for him.”

And it was. Anthony was further motivated by his freshman season at Yakima Valley Community College—Shaunte got him a tryout there— where he averaged 18.3 points per game on 57.6 percent shooting. The next season, he was NWAAC east region MVP as he led his 7-man team to a conference title.

Anthony and Shaunte, welcome to Missoula and the University of Montana.
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