Four years ago, Spencer Johnson was a high school senior who signed with Weber State to continue playing basketball. On Wednesday, Johnson participated in another Signing Day and this time put his commitment to BYU on paper.
“It feels so good,” Johnson said. “I just know where I'm going and I'm so excited to be part of this team next year.”
The Cougars also signed Wasatch Academy standout Richie Saunders.
The road to become a Cougar has been a long one, but once Johnson arrives in Provo next summer, the four extra years it took to get there will have been worth it.
Shortly after graduating from American Fork in 2016, Johnson left to Milan to serve his church mission. When he returned, Johnson stayed in Ogden for only one semester before transferring to Utah Valley, where he redshirted.
But then coach Mark Pope left for the head coach position at BYU, so Johnson instead transferred to Salt Lake Community College over the summer.
When Johnson reunites with his former head coach next summer, the 6-foot-5 guard will still have three years of eligibility left.
The fact that BYU’s coaching staff comprises a lot of the same coaches Johnson grew to love at UVU helped him choose the Cougars over Boise State, Dixie State and UVU.
“I just felt like it was the most comfortable situation,” Johnson said. “I knew that they believed in me the most and that I could go there and have the most success. It just all made sense.”
Growing up close to BYU, Johnson always thought it would be cool to play for the Cougars, but it never worked out. He had never had any conversations with anyone on there staff until Pope came along.
Johnson was a two-star recruit out of American Fork. He averaged 19.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game his senior season.
And the way Pope has been relentless — not just in the recruiting process, but as a coach — struck a cord with Johnson.
“That’s what attracted me most — you want to win and you want to win big,” Johnson said. “At BYU, I feel like there’s no better place for me to do that.”
Saunders plays for Dave Evans at Wasatch Academy.
As a junior, Saunders averaged 11.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals while helping Wasatch to a 26-4 record and a No. 10 national ranking in USA Today’s final Super 25 rankings last season.
“Richie is truly one of the elite shooters in the western United States,” Pope said in a news release. “His 6-foot-6 frame is going to grow into a punishing body and he has a heart that’s even bigger. Richie is one of the best young men that I’ve ever met. He’s going to leave a great legacy at BYU.”