Jarvis Johnson, at one point, was a four-star recruit who was signed and ready to play for the University of Minnesota under head coach Richard Pitino, but then he was not cleared to participate in basketball activities due to a heart condition.
Just the same, he remains on scholarship at the university and in an interview with Marcus R. Fuller of the Pioneer Press, Pitino addressed his feelings on Johnson’s situation.
“The biggest thing with Jarvis is everybody wants what’s best for Jarvis and his health. Certainly, we’re disappointed he will not be playing for us. The intentions are very, very good,” he said.
“We all want to see him succeed for a long, long time in the game of life. I think Jarvis’ family knows that. I told Jarvis this the other day, that, One door is closed but that doesn’t mean that a bunch of doors won’t open for you.
“He’s a special kid. He’s a resilient kid. He’s a well-rounded person who will get the most out of his opportunity. He’ll still help out our program a lot. This was something that we trusted in our doctors and we knew that what they wanted more than anything was for Jarvis to be healthy.”
Pitino later went on to say that despite the circumstances, Johnson is still being encouraged to spend time with the basketball program. The coach obviously sees something special in him, so perhaps he’s being set up to be groomed for a coaching career? Not many 18-year-olds can say that they learned from a Pitino at such a young age, so Johnson could potentially be in some special company.
Either way, it’s great that he’s thought so highly of to be kept around on scholarship despite not being cleared to play and while his playing days may be over, he is entering a new beginning.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports