Payne and staff sign Esters-Johnson for 2011-12 hoop season

Payne and staff sign Esters-Johnson for 2011-12 hoop season

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech's newest head coach, Steve Payne, and the rest of the Golden Eagle men's basketball staff will welcome Lanerryl Esters-Johnson to the Golden Eagle roster as the newest signee for the 2011-12 basketball season.

A 6'0" guard out of Marietta, Ga., Esters-Johnson played under Joe Goydish at Walton High School, making a name for himself as a combo-guard, averaging 24 points per game during his senior season. He is also known for his work ethic day in and day out, both in and out of season, as well as for being successful in the classroom.

"Lanerryl is a scoring point guard," Goydish said. "He does a great job handling the basketball and getting the offense going. He has the ability to break down a defense and either find his teammates or attack the basket himself."

Over the course of his career at Walton, Lanerryl was named first team all-county, all-state and all-region en route to helping his taem to a regional title. He was also honored as the MVP of the Ranier Beach tournament and was a member of the all-tournament team at the Glaxo Smith Kline Invitational.

"The first thing you'll notice about Lanerryl is that he has tremendous speed and quickness to his game," Payne said. "He has a great work ethic and desire to be successful.

"He has a scorers mentality, and as he grows as a player and learns the point guard position, he'll develop techniques that will allow him to score in different ways."

Born November 30, 1992 to Wil and Teresa Johnson, Lanerryl intends to major in business management at TTU.

"I feel like I belong at Tech," Johnson said. "I'm very comfortable there. It seems like a very family-oriented team and school - I've never felt like that at anywhere else that I visited. It's like it was meant to be."

In addition to his enthusiasm about signing with Tech, Johnson also has a very intuitive grasp on how he can potentially be an impact player from the start.

"I know that there are guys coming back who can score, guys like Kevin Murphy," he said. "So my job will be to make his job easier and allow him to move off of the ball and get more scoring opportunities."