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Pack in the Pros

Where Are They Now? Markell Johnson

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I’m not sure if NC State fans are aware just how good Markell Johnson was for the Pack.

Johnson played point guard for all four years at NC State after being brought in by Mark Gottfried for the 2016 season. However, no one really paid much attention to the pick-up because that season Gottfried also brought in the top rated PG in the country, Dennis Smith Jr.

Markell was no slouch, though. He was the 58th best player in his class, and #10 ranked PG, and while he didn’t get too much run his freshman season, it was obvious that he had more true PG skills than the much more celebrated Dennis Smith Jr.

Johnson had a tight handle, was slippery with his ability change speeds on a dime, and could score on all 3 level. Johnson’s biggest skill, though, was his vision. Johnson was an elite passer, and a guy who could get everyone around him involved.

He was so good at it, that he left Raleigh as the #3 player all-time for career assists with 603. Only Wolfpack legends Chris Corchiani and Sidney Lowe have more.

1) Chris Corchiani, 1988-91 – 1,038
2) Sidney Lowe, 1980-83 – 762
3) Markell Johnson, 2016-2020 – 603

Johnson’s career, however, came to an abrupt end when COVID canceled the NCAA postseason just minutes before State was set to take the floor against #10 Duke (a team they had beaten by 22 earlier in the season, behind an elite 28pt, 9 rebound, 4 assist performance by Johnson)  in the ACC Tournament.

That was the last NC State fans saw of Markell Johnson.

So where is he now?

Johnson didn’t get an NBA look and opted against playing in the G-League. Instead, he headed to overseason to play for Besiktas S.J. in Turkey in 2020-21.

There he got 21 minutes per game, scored 7, and dished out almost 5 assists per game, but struggled to shoot from long range. The loss of his shot was something that had started his senior season at NC State. After shooting over 40% his first two seasons, he struggled with his form and shot just 27% in his final season. This carried over to Turkey where he shot just 24%.

After that season, Johnson headed to Lithuania last year to play for Peino Zvaigzdes, where he had a great season. Johnson scored 12 points and dished out 4 assists per game. He averaged 26 minutes and finally found his shot, hitting 42% of his 3s.

With his shot back, Johnson has a high ceiling as a point guard. A guy that can score 12 to 15 points per game and average around 5 assists per game is going to be extremely marketable and will have a lot of options when looking for his next opportunity.

That brings us to this season.

It appears that Johnson was all set to head to Germany to play for MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, but had to be replaced at the last minute because of failed physicals.

There isn’t any news out there on why he failed the physical or what his next steps are. We’ll be reaching out to Markell to see if he can give us an update, but we’d assume that unless it’s something serious, we’ll see him land somewhere overseas at some point soon.

 

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Pack in the Pros

NC State’s Jarkel Joiner was at the Hornet’s 1st Draft Workout

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The Charlotte Hornets held their first 2023 NBA Draft Workout yesterday, and NC State’s Jarkel Joiner was 1 of the 6 players in attendance.

Joiner earned 2nd Team All-ACC honors in his single season at NC State, averaging 17.0 points per game. He is expecting to attend a couple of more workouts. Joiner is projected as a late 2nd round pick, or as an undrafted free agent signee.

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NC State’s Trea Turner is En Fuego Heading into WBC Championship

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Former NC State All-American Shortstop Trea Turner has been en fuego representing the United States in the World Baseball Classic. He has helped lead the United States to the finals against Japan, which begins tonight at 7pm.

Turner currently is batting .368 through 5 games. Four of his seven hits have been home runs, which leads all batters in the World Baseball Classic.

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Former NC State C Garrett Bradbury Signs 3-Year Deal with the Vikings

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Former NC State All-American Center Garrett Bradbury has re-signed with the Vikings on a 3-year deal worth $15.75 million.

Bradbury just wrapped up his 4-year Rookie contract worth $13 million. The Vikings decided not to pick up his 5th year option prior to last season, but they decided to go ahead and re-sign Bradbury, who has been their starter since entering the league.

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Former NC State WR Jakobi Meyers Signs 3-Year Deal with Las Vegas

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Former NC State Wide Receiver Jakobi Meyers got paid yesterday, signing a 3-year deal with the Raiders worth $33 million, with $21 million of it guaranteed.

After going undrafted, Meyers signed with New England, and has been with the Pats the past 4 seasons. Last year was the first year that Meyers made over $1 million, earning $3.986 million on a 1-year contract. Now he will average $11 million a season over the next three years in Vegas.

Over 4 seasons, Meyers has 235 receptions for 2,758 yards and 8 touchdown receptions. Meyers earned this pay day, leading the Pats in receiving yards for the past three seasons consecutively.

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