Razorback Trailblazers: Thomas Johnson
In honor of Black History Month, the Razorback Athletic department will release “Trailblazer” stories throughout February celebrating the success and accomplishments of some of the first African-American student-athletes in University of Arkansas history.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The first African-American to be a part of the Razorback men’s basketball tradition, Thomas Alonza Johnson Jr. was a member of the Razorback Shoat roster for the 1967-68 season.
The Menifee, Ark., native was one of the taller members of the team’s roster at 6 feet 2 inches tall, and would go on to play a 12-game schedule against a mostly junior college lineup.
Johnson, 18, finished the year for the Razorbacks ranked third on the team in scoring at 15.5 points per game. He also shot 49 percent from the floor (76-155) and 63 percent from the free throw line (35-55) while grabbing 74 rebounds and committing 42 personal fouls.
Johnson was considered one of the finest players in central Arkansas as a senior for Eastside High School. He averaged 30.4 points per game and was a three-time all-district performer, two-time team captain, and winner of the MVP award in his area. He was also named to nine all-tournament teams at Eastside as a senior.
Along with Johnson’s skills on the court, he was a standout student for Eastside and was a member of the honor society for three years before majoring in business at the University.