By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Head coach Steve Payne announced the signing of Northwestern graduate transfer Johnnie Vassar to the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team on Friday.
A six-foot, 185-pound guard, Vassar joins the Golden Eagles after spending the past four years at Northwestern. The Chicago, Ill. native is a former three-star recruit by Rivals, Scout and ESPN.com.
"We had one scholarship left and only wanted to add the right person for our team; a guy that is good for our chemistry and is also a good player," Payne explained. "Obviously with Johnnie we're bringing in an excellent student – with an education from Northwestern – who is hungry to play again. I feel he certainly has the ability to be an impact player for our program from a talent standpoint. He's an explosive guard that has a chance to have a great year."
Vassar will be immediately eligible to compete and have two years remaining in his collegiate career.
"The coaching staff was great from top to bottom, in fact everyone I met in general was great," Vassar said of his decision to enroll at Tech. "I was able to spend some time with the team and they're a good group of guys. I see a bright future for us."
Vassar last played for the Wildcats during the 2014-15 season. As a freshman, he saw action in 18 of the team's 32 games, but was limited to just 3.9 minutes of action per contest. He scored 15 points with seven boards, eight assists and two steals in that time.
"We feel he will be very productive while he's here and serve as a leader for our guys both on and off the court, much like [former graduate transfer and Tech guard] Kajon Mack was for us the past two seasons," Payne said. "We just couldn't be more excited or happy being able to add a guy of his ability and character this late in the year."
The guard played at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. as a senior, averaging 19.7 points and 5.0 assists per game. He earned All-CIF Division 4-AA Player of the Year honors and set the school record with 15 assists in one game.
"Whatever Coach [Payne] and the guys need me to do to help us win, I'm committed to doing," Vassar said when asked what he plans to contribute this season. "As far as what I bring to the table individually, I believe I'm a great playmaker and I'm able to put the ball in the basket in a variety of different ways. Being an older guy there, I can offer leadership as well.
"I'm most excited for the opportunity to bond with the guys and get back out on the court. Making a lot of noise this year will be nice and I'm ready to get after it."