COVINGTON, Ga. — Tyler Glover, Juwan Johnson and Shawn Butler made sure that the Newton-to-West Georgia Tech pipeline continues, as the trio signed letters of intent to play basketball at the Carrollton junior college Friday morning.
Glover, Johnson and Butler were all solid role players or contributors off the bench for the Newton Rams during the 2017-18 season that saw the team win its third straight region championship while making a run to the Class AAAAAAA Final Four.
“This is one of the most special and rewarding things about being a basketball coach,” said Newton boys coach Rick Rasmussen. “It’s going to be extra special to be able to go watch them play. We like to do that. Go watch them play and continue to be in their lives.”
The three Newton signees raise the total of program players who have gone to West Georgia Tech to six.
“Last year, their starting center was Antonio Smith who was a 2015 guy for us,” Rasmussen said. “They’ve also had Donovan Grubb last year and Kishon Rogers who, I think was a 2013 guy. They know our program well, and they have a lot of respect for our kids, and our kids have gone there and been some of their best players. I think that’s part of the reason why we have a pipeline there now.”
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about these Newton players attending West Georgia Tech is the fact that all three will be sharing an on-campus apartment designed to house four people.
“Probably the funnest thing is each of them are going to have their own room and bathroom, but will share a living room and kitchen. So three of the four guys in there will be from here. It’ll kind of be like the Newton room.”
All three players said they’re excited about bringing their Newton vibe to the state’s west side.
“It’s going to be good being with my teammates and to have my boys coming with me to the next level,” Glover said. “They’re responsible, so everything should go good living together. We’ll be alright.”
Butler said he’s glad to have familiar faces surrounding him and helping him push through the difficulties of transitioning into college life.
“Coming into the season, I already knew these guys, but this last go-round, we made a bond and we were like brothers,” Butler said. “I know it’s gonna be a crazy, bumpy ride since for all three of us it’ll be the first time living without our parents. It’ll be different, but I think we’ll make it work.”
For Johnson, the continued camaraderie he feels with Glover and Butler makes him even more grateful to be able to have a chance to continue playing the game he loves.
“The way we came together here, it just happened like all of a sudden,” Johnson said. “Me and Tyler had the same school interested in us, so we just had Shawn come out there with us, and they liked him to. It’s great because we have such a strong bond. We came up with each other and played together, and now we can continue doing it while get the chance to carry on my education and further my basketball career.”