Help Wanted! Can anyone out-coach Freddy Johnson?

Posted by Andy Durham on January 24, 2008 at 12:17 pm under High School | 15 Comments to Read

Coach Johnson’s GDS Bengals did it again last night. Greensboro Day School was down 16-7 after one quarter and behind 36-21 at halftime at Forsyth Country Day, but the GDS Bengals came back again and won the game 70-66. I’m sure Coach Johnson would pass along the credit to his players but Freddy is always ready and how can you beat his team? The Bengals are (21-2) but Coach J has over 800 career wins and he is just barely past 50 years of age. If he were to coach another 30 years that would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,700 wins when he retires, if he ever does.

It says a lot for GDS and their success. Bruce Woodall, Javan Mitchell, and Jay Lewis will always play well and the Bengals have an excellent supporting cast with Chip Wintringham, Christian Pulliam, Ryan Carty, Brandon Dorsett and company. But the key is Fred-dy.

Can Rusty LaRue or any other local coaches match wits with Coach Freddy Johnson? Let’s go back and take it from the top:
Help Wanted! Can anyone out-coach Freddy Johnson?


  • Greg said,

    Give the other coaches the cupcake schedule GDS has every yesr and most coaches would pile up the wins just like Freddy.

  • Yesth said,

    Cupcake? Look at their schedule, Village Christian, Mt. Zion, Christ School, Ravenscroft, FCDS (who just beat Page with an 8th grader), and the self proclaimed “best team in the Triad” Calvary Baptist, who they hung 93pts on last year. All teams with Multiple D1 commits. Plus they beat the best of the Triad public schools every year in the Little Four. Tell me Greg, who has a harder schedule than GDS?

  • joe said,

    Andy,
    You can’t compare apples to oranges. Freddy coaches a prep school type team. He is not restricted by attendance zones and the same eligibility rules as public schools. Every year you see kids move into his school for all over the place. Johnny Thomas was from somewhere on the coast and came up here to live with someone so he could play there. Kids who move into the high school are told they probably have to repeat a grade for “academic reasons”. That way he has a team with any number of fifth year players on it. Please don’t tell me Woodall is a fifth year player at GDS because of academic reasons. Playing kids in their fifth year against regular high school kids is a huge advantage. The new big kid would be a senior this year at any other school. He is a junior at GDS. He is getting better and should be a monster by next year, his fifth year of high school. College freshmen against high school seniors is an advantage. Couple that with the cupcake schedule they play and you have a pretty confident team when they do play someone good. Freddy is a good coach to go along with it but he has advantages other high school coaches don’t have. No one wants to talk about that, all they want to do is toot Freddy’s horn like you are. He has over eight hundred wins and a public school coach with the same number of years coaching hasn’t even coached 800 games yet. They don’t have game limits like public school coaches do. Put GDS in with the same rules as public schools and they will have a different result. They are not a typical high school basketball team. To compare them to other schools in the area is not fair to the coaches and players who work there and play under a more restrictive set of rules.

  • j0ebasketball said,

    Andy,
    You can’t compare apples to oranges. GDS is like a prep school. Coach Johnson does a great job but he plays under a different set of rules than anyone else. He has a large group of community people who encourage good players to transfer to his school. They look for middle schoolers and high schoolers. Public school coaches can’t go out and get kids from all over the place to play for them. They are supposed to work with the kids who are assigned to their school. Johnny Thomas, NC State, lived somewhere toward the coast and moved up here to live with Bob Smith so he could go to GDS. When a high school kid moves in there the first thing they do is advise them to repeat their current grade for “academic reasons.” Then they have a kid who in his senior year at GDS is really a fifth year high school player. That is a huge advantage. Imagine any area public school who could choose which seniors from last year’s team they could have back. Those teams would be much better too. Playing college freshmen against high school kids gives GDS an edge. You can’t tell me the Woodall kid repeated a grade at GDS for academic reasons. He is going to Virginia. I would guess he was a pretty good student before he got to GDS. I know a local kid who they tried to get to GDS and told him he would need to hold back a year for “academic reasons.” They didn’t even know that he already had 1580 on the SAT. He laughed at them and stayed where he was. Thomas repeated a year too. He was a fifth year player and ACC recruit playing against high school kids. The big kid they have now is supposed to be a senior. I imagine he is going to be a monster next year with an extra year of high school experience.

    GDS does play a cupcake schedule. Who is Village Christian? What about North Raleigh Christian? Calvary is the most over rated team I have ever seen and FCD beat them with an eigth grader, not Page. GDS is 23-2 while all the other schools in the area have only played around 16 games. Ten or more wins against easy teams by 50 points does a lot for your confidence when you finally do play against a good team. Put them in a league where there are no nights off and their record would be a little different. 800 wins is outstanding. A public school coach with the same number of years coaching as Freddy hasn’t even played in 800 games yet. Public schools don’t have the flexibility of schedule that private schools have. When GDS is down they can go out and schedule the North Raleigh Christians of the world when a public school still has to play Dudley, Northeast, etc. Playing 30 games a year against mostly weak competition will give any coach a ton of wins. He has won a ton of state championships too. The private school state tournament is about a 16 or 20 team tournament. What if it was a 64 team tournament like public schools have? Would they still have as many championships? Who knows. It is a different world.

    They beat Page on Monday by four points. Page played Grimsley on Friday and all Saturday events were forbidden because of the threat of snow. GDS had a game canceled on Saturday because of the snow. Page couldn’t practice before the Monday game but GDS practices every Sunday of the season. Do you think that was an advantage for GDS? They won by four. Would an extra day of preparation for one team that the other team couldn’t have make a four point difference? Maybe. Does that extra day of preparation make Coach Johnson a brilliant coach because he had a day to practice when his opponent wasn’t allowed to or is he just benefiting from a different set of rules?

    Don’t get me wrong, Freddy is a good coach, but before you go around acting like he is God’s gift to high school coaching you have to know all the advantages he has because he coaches under a different set of rules than the ones public schools have to go by. He has tremendous advantages that give his team an edge. If you are going to promote him like that you need to at least have a better understanding of the big picture.

  • Dudley Fan said,

    Amen to Greg and Joe. Greensboro Day plays cupcake teams. Why don’t they go public like Bishop and or Cardinal Gibbons did? Greensboro Day has too many advantages as a private school.

    DP
    Dudley Fan

  • Andy said,

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I am just trying to create some discussion here and get the opinion of our readers. This in a way is much like the president’s stimulus package with GREENSBOROSports.com sending out a written package that creates stimulating talk on the web. That’s one of our primary goals.

    We are lucky to have a local coach like Freddy Johnson at GDS and we need to give the coach some credit. Let’s get one of these discussions brewing over at the message board under high school. Just click on forum at the top of this home page, register and let it rip.

    A good place to get it off your chest. Forum/Message board under High School.

    This seems to be a good topic so let’s keep it going here and then someone can keep it going or develop a new or related topic at the forum/message board.

    GREENSBOROSports is doing a good job of giving you many options and stimulating topics. Agree or disagree?

    Also we should discuss further the job Coach Johnson is doing in regards to the fact that Javan Mitchell is the only GDS player that would start for any of our county schools. No disrespect to Bruce Woodall, Jay Lewis of the other Bengals but you have to consider this in relation to the job that Coach Johnson is doing. Woodall or Lewis may start for a few of our other teams, but for at least our top 6-7 teams, they would be coming off of the bench.(They couldn’t start for Northern, they are too old) Only Mitchell would be in the starting lineup and that speaks volumns for the job Freddy Johnson is doing.

    For arguements sake let’s say Woodall and Leiws would find it hard to be starting for Dudley, Ragsdale, Grimsley, Northeast, Western, Northern, High Point Andrews…… This is up for discussion and is not meant to discredit these kids or their abilities. It’s up in the air, what do you think and do we need to move this one to the message board?

  • An Innocent Bystander said,

    North Raleigh Christian is only because it’s a 3a state game and is required to play. Village Christian has a Texas Tech recruit. GDS doesn’t play a cupcake schedule, none of the good teams around here play Christ School, Ravenscroft and the likes. And are you serious about Woodall not starting at Ragsdale, Grimsley, NE, and especially Western or Northern? The kid is the best shooter in the state of North Carolina, he would start anywhere except for MAYBE dudley. As for the rest of the team, GDS is as deep as any team around. Also, theyget it done on the defensive end as well as anybody around, holding the TT recruit to 6 points after he had 42 the game before. GDS may seem like they have a cupcake schedule because of how strong they are. Get over the fact that they’re good.

  • Andy said,

    No disrespect toward Bruce , Jay Lewis or any of the other Bengals but what works for GDS is the Freddy Johnson system. His coaching style and the Bengal system implemented by Coach Johnson allows him to get more out of players that would normally be left out of the picture on many of our area teams.

    There’s something about Coach Johnson’s system that brings out the best in most players no matter what their talent level is when they enter the program. Remember the Perkins brothers and many other contributing players that may have been buried on the bench at other schools?

    I wonder what type of player JB Beloved would be if he were still at Greensboro Day? He would have been forced to change his style and adapt to the system and may have become more of a pure point guard instead of a wheeler dealer that gets wild at times as his makes the transition from defense to offense.

    I believe every program needs a certain level of discipline and structure. That’s what makes the Bengal program flourish.

    Would you rather have gaudy individual stats or have team championships? The stats look good for now, but the team trophies are still around 25-30 years down the road. I don’t know too many people that wouldn’t mind giving up those personal numbers for a conference championship.

    I know Grimsley is dying to get one this year and the Metro 4-A title means the world to the Whirlie boys team and I bet you that Leonard and Dupont and Tonkins and Beloved would throw those individual totals out the window for a chance to win that conference title.(Manley is starting to learn this too.) Dupont and Leonard have tasted that success already with Soccer and you know they want more.

    With Coach Johnson’s program the goals are always higher because they are in the hunt for the State Independent title every year and that’s because of the consistancy of the system.

    Anybody agree or disagree? Thanks for weighing in on the topic.

    (We do have some very qualified and capable coaches in the county and this whole discussion isn’t set up to cast Coach Johnson up on a pedestal way above all of our other coaches, but again, you can’t argue with his system. It works, the Bengals nearly had Christ School beat and Christ School took Oak Hill to the max back on Monday at the Greensboro Coliseum. Year-in, year-out, Oak Hill is the best team in the country. Where does that put Greensboro Day?)

  • Robin said,

    I think you could definitely say that GDS has the best staff in the area and maybe the state. And that may include a lot of colleges. Look at the experience and knowledge that he has surrounded himself with. It has always been a trademark of Coach Johnson. He surrounds himself with great coaches and allows them to do what they do best. Think back to when Coach Mac Morris was with him. GDS played the best matchup zone and ran the flex to perfection Now he has two younger guys. Coach Shelton and Smith. Shelton has been there for years and understands the dynamics of GDS. Smith provides them with something that no other school can provide. Multiple years of coaching at the college level. He understands how to prepare from game to game and how to prepare kids to paly at the next level. He has been there. And its my understanding that he is largely responsible for teaching the pressure defense that GDS has employed this year. And after watching them multiple times, I would be willing to say it isw one of the bst defensive teams i have seen in a long time. Think about it. Who do they have besides Woodall and Mitchell that people would count on for scoring. You look at the total staff and what they get out of their personnell, hands down yo uhave to say GDS beats them all.

  • sports fan said,

    Andy you have made many great and insightful remarks. Joe, Greg, and Dudley fan – I wouldn’t go as far to say that Greensboro Day plays cupcakes. Christ School has 4 major D-I players with one already committed to Stanford, another with various Colonial offers, another that had Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt watching him at the MLK Tournament, and another that has offers from NC State, Virginia Tech…etc Ravenscroft had two D-I big kids that are both 6 foot 9 plus along with a top 75 player in the class of ’09 (offers from NC State, UVA, and Va-Tech) and Carolina is closely recruiting. Village Christian has that Texas Tech guy as mentioned above. Charlotte Christian is number 6 in the Charlotte Observor sweet sixteen poll. Year in and year out Mt. Zion is a perennial powerhouse. The list continues with quality competition Greensboro Day has played. If my memory serves me correct Greensboro Day has won the last 3 Little 4 Championships. The Little 4 is annually a battle of the power basketball teams in the county. This year the Bengals once again beat Dudley for the championship just like the previous two years who arguably have the most talent in the county. I have had the chance to see Greensboro Day play a couple of times this year and besides Mitchell – the tall guy down low, no one else in my mind is a D-I player.
    I don’t buy into the cupcake schedule at all considering Greensboro Day has had great success in the Little Four and plays quality competition as mentioned above. I also don’t buy into the idea that players being able to repeat gives them this great advantage considering Mitchell and Woodall are the only players on their roster who definitely would start at any public school in the county.
    I think Greensboro Day’s coach is a great coach. I also think the coach at Northern, Northwest, and Grimsley are all very good too.

  • ACC Fan said,

    I think that Freddy Johnson is a great coach. I would use the term “legendary” to describe Mac Morris – the long time coach of the Page Pirates. I think it is an injustice when discussing high school coaches in Guilford County to not reference the man that paved the way for all of these men to follow. Coach Morris gave a lot of young and aspiring coaches someone to look up to and learn from early on in their career.

  • Coach said,

    You need to give the GDS starters some PROPS! I am a former coach and have watched most of these guys come up through the AAU ranks palying for the NC Gaters. Four of the starters are former Gaters ( A teams). Mithcell is new in the area but I think he played AAU in LA? Most started on state championship teams and teams that did well in the Nationals. It’s true they are very small. Basically they are one 6-9 guy and four 6-0 starters. But they rebound well, defend well, and are very disciplined. And you never know who might step up to be that third option…

    They have guys who do little things. Winteringham takes tons of charges and hits some big shots. Lewis is a college prospect(div 2?) in my opinion. Their point guard is tough as nails for a soph and he hits big shots. Obviously Woodhall can shoot.

    Most of them would either start or be in in the top seven at any school except maybe Dudley, in my opinion.

    It is also true that Freddy wins some games for them that some other coaches wouldn’t. I’ve watched them 7 or 8 times this year – somehow he kept them in the Arden Christ School game. I also saw them nearly beat Ravenscroft. They certainly don’t play a cupcake schedule either – they beat Burlington Williams who beat Burlington Cummings (who stayed close to Dudley). They also play 3 or 4 tough teams from Charlotte. And for the Woodhall doubters I read where he had 30 on Saturday…Hit 7 threes

  • Brick said,

    Coach has it right – lots of Gaters with many, many AAU tourney and state championships between them. Their AAU experiences, coupled with Coach Johnson’s wisdom and discipline, produce a winning team sum that is much greater than the total of the individual parts. The bench carries many Gaters as well – Dorsett, Bunch, Brumley, Bridges, Brown, Carty, and more. Coach Johnson and his staff take what the boys already know, infuse it with wisdom from many years of coaching, and then set the bar incredibly high for the team. Those boys are hungry to win every time they hit the floor.

    Coach Johnson teaches more than basketball – he teaches his players respect, team play, sacrifice, and hard work. His players are clean-shaven with neat haircuts, dressed in shirts and ties along with dress pants and dress shoes. When they arrive for a game it is clear that they are representing their school, their team, and themselves with dignity and respect. Contrast this to the innumerable teams that show up with players wearing pants sagging below their rear ends, bling hanging to their belly buttons, tats advocating who knows what, looking like they just knocked off the local convenience store. Respect the game, man.

    Comments about who might start where are really interesting. Did someone mention “state high school rules” above? Save your preaching about rules. Check any public school boys basketball team roster and you will almost surely find players who do not reside in that school’s zone. And the comments about “5th year seniors” – aren’t players who repeated kindergarten or 6th grade or any other grade likewise age- advantaged? In AAU ball they are called “grade exceptions”, and every team likely has players who are “old” for their grades.

    GDS basketball is a quality product, like it or not. Freddy Johnson and his coaching staff are worthy of respect and commendation.

  • Andy said,

    I think a perfect example of the Freddy Johnson system is what we saw from Freddy’s own son Robert Johnson. Robert was not a great player but he was a very good player in Coach Johnson’s system. Would Robert have been a starter on many other teams in the County schools? I’m not so sure, but his dad found a way to incorporate RJ into the Bengal system with maximum productivity and it became a win, win, win situation for the Bengal program.

    What is Bruce Woodall doing going off for 30 points? You would think that he was dreaming about a hole-in-one(UVA Cavalier golf) instead he’s taking it to the hole and knocking down those three-pointers and trying to dispel every GREENSBOROSports.com theory in the book.

    Good job Bruce, and good job Bengals on the win Saturday by two, and I heard that same team, Charlotte Country Day, came over to High Point Wesleyan and they were able to sneak away with a two-point win over the Trojans on Friday night and that HPW’s Josh Coble hit for 30.

  • Coatch Don Pants said,

    Freddy Johnson allocates all of the scholarship money from the school to Basketball only; he is sucking the life out of the athletic program. Thanks Fred. (twitch, twitch).