ONEIDA | Kelsey Pike made it official on Thursday: The Oneida High School standout is headed to Johnson University to continue her basketball career.
First, though, the senior will have a final season of high school basketball to build upon her resume.
Pike signed with Johnson University during a ceremony at Oneida High School Thursday. On hand for the event was her future head coach, Johnson's Bryan Lawhon. Pike had verbally committed to Johnson last month.
At Johnson University, Pike is a part of Lawhon's first recruiting class. He was announced as the Royals' new head coach in July, just five weeks before Pike's commitment.
Lawhon's move helped influence Pike's decision. She was already zeroing in on Bryan College.
“I was more than likely going to play for Coach Lawhon at Bryan, but then when he made the switch to Johnson I went on a visit and fell in love with the campus,” she said. “Me and Coach Lawhon started building a relationship early my sophomore year and it just went from there. He has been good to me and my family so I knew I wanted to play for him.”
Pike said she likes Lawhon's style of play.
“He's building a special program so I'm excited to be a part of the journey to putting Johnson on the map,” she said.
Lawhon helped build Bryan College into an Appalachian Athletic Conference powerhouse, both as an assistant coach and as a head coach. Last year, Bryan — located in Cleveland, Tenn. — went 29-0 in the regular season, and were the only undefeated team in the NAIA. They finished the season ranked 9th in the nation and made the Sweet 16 of the NAIA National Tournament. Lawhon left Bryan with an 88-game winning streak in conference play.
Pike enters her senior season at Oneida with more than 1,200 career points. The Tennessee Miss Basketball candidate is the reigning district most valuable player, and will be a big reason why the Lady Indians are a preseason favorite to win the district.
Located on the banks of the French Broad River near Seymour, Tenn., south of Knoxville, Johnson University is a private Christian university. The school has a second campus in Kissimmee, Fla.