St. Vincent-St. Mary High School seniors DaVonte’ Beard and Ricky Johnson Jr. have committed to continue their basketball and academic careers in college.
Beard is headed to Siena in Loudonville, N.Y. and Johnson is bound for Bethune-Cookman in Dayton Beach, Fla.
“I think both of these guys will be all-conference selections,” St. V-M coach Dru Joyce said. “Their work ethic and basketball IQ are so far above the average high school guy. We will miss them at St. Vincent-St. Mary.”
Johnson and Beard helped St. V-M win Division II boys basketball state titles in 2009 and 2011.
Beard is a three-year starter for the Irish.
“This is a great opportunity for DaVonte’,” Joyce said. “Siena is a basketball first school. Basketball is the main sport at Siena. They are not playing in the shadow of football, and they have a very nice basketball arena in Albany. They average 8,000 to 10,000 fans a game. The support from the university and the community is great.”
Beard, 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, said he also had scholarship offers from George Washington, LaSalle, Northeastern and Youngstown State.
“I am very happy and really excited about this opportunity,” Beard said. “Siena is a very good school and I felt really comfortable with the coaches and players during my official visit. They started recruiting me at the beginning of the season. Throughout the season, they kept up with me and called me as much as they were able to.”
Johnson is a four-year starter for the Irish.
“When I made my official visit it felt like everyone there was like a big family with the players, teachers, students and coaches,” Johnson said.
Johnson, 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, said he also had a scholarship offer from Youngstown State.
“Ricky is a kid that a number of schools missed on,” Joyce said. “He committed early to Lehigh and that took him off the market, and that hurt. He then went back out on the market, and once Bethune-Cookman got involved they stayed on him and recruited him hard. They’re looking for a point guard, and Ricky will fit the bill. He is a leader and I think he will go in and be a four-year starter.”