Aug 19, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Morgan Johnson ended her career with the University of Iowa women's basketball team in style.
Johnson never missed a game during her four-year career, guiding the Hawkeyes to the NCAA Tournament each season. The Platte City, Mo., native set the school record for blocks, career starts and career games played, and ended her career ranked fourth all-time at Iowa in career rebounds and ninth in career scoring.
Johnson was a two-time second team All-Big Ten selection, and was named Iowa's 2013 Big Ten Female Medal of Honor winner. She was a four-time Dean's List student, three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and a three-time President's Committee on Athletics medallion winner.
Following her senior season, Johnson was selected to the NetScouts Basketball United States All-Star team. Johnson, along with nine other NCAA Division I seniors, traveled to China for 15 days to play against other national teams.
"It is good for our current players to see that these are the types of things you can do when you're successful in our program. It is also good for our recruits to see these are the types of things Iowa Hawkeyes are doing; going on and playing professional basketball, representing the university in all-star tours and going overseas."
-- UI head coach Lisa Bluder
The squad captured the 'Four Nations' tournament title with a 7-2 record, facing Australia, Brazil and China.
It was the experience of a lifetime.
"It was a wonderful experience, both professionally as a player, and culturally," said Johnson. "I enjoyed getting to know the girls, and the opportunity to represent the United States was amazing."
The trip was much more than just basketball, and altered Johnson's outlook following her collegiate basketball career.
"I had plans to stay and take the MCAT this summer," said Johnson. "Now, I am going to take a couple years to go explore the world before coming back and hitting the books again."
"Morgan getting an opportunity to play on an all-star team in China was a great experience for her," said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. "She was able to see another country and another culture. When you are there that long you can immerse yourself in the culture, try the different foods, meet some of the people; she visited kids in schools. Morgan is the type of person that makes the most and the best of everywhere she is.
"She learned a lot. She learned that she wants to play international basketball and this was a nice test for her to see if this is really what she wants to do for the next eight months. She came home from this saying, 'Yeah, I really want to go overseas, I'm going to enjoy this experience learning about another country.'"
Morgan's opportunity provides a perfect example of what can come from hard work in the Iowa women's basketball program. She is heading to the Czech Republic to begin her professional basketball career.
"It is good for our current players to see that these are the types of things you can do when you're successful in our program," said Bluder. "It is also good for our recruits to see these are the types of things Iowa Hawkeyes are doing; going on and playing professional basketball, representing the university in all-star tours and going overseas and being able to experience that."
"It is going to be a great time," said Johnson. "I am so excited."