BYB with Juke: Johnson leads local training service

By Justin Hubbard

justin@lakeoconeenews.us

 

As he walked the halls of Greene County High School during his teenage years, Brandon Johnson knew he wanted to one day help area kids become better athletes.  

The former Tigers football player, who graduated in 2004, wasn’t sure how he would accomplish that goal and he went a few years out of high school before putting those plans into action. Then, Johnson began coaching football and basketball at the Greene County Recreation Department.  

His desire to help kids hone their athletic skills was met with strong results at the GCRD, further fueling Johnson’s aspirations. 

“I had been talking about this since I was in high school, but I never really thought of doing it until I started coaching at the rec (department) six or seven years ago,” Johnson said. “Once I started working at the rec and I realized my talents with kids, it worked out pretty good for me. I just started seeing the effect that I had. Kids started to listen to what I had to say, and they just started getting better.” 

Now, several years later, Johnson, who also known as “Juke,” has his own basketball training company, which he calls Build Your Brand Recruiting/Training Services (BYB). It’s a humble company, consisting mainly of Johnson but sometimes featuring volunteers including his family members, his friends or college athletes.  

Johnson said he decided to put his plan into action after attending a fateful meeting at ATLAS Ministry.  

“When I was working at ATLAS Ministry, we were in a workshop class,” Johnson explained. “The preacher was like, 'Write down something that you want to do or set a goal for yourself.' So I set a goal on opening up my own training business and I talked about it and I just stepped out on faith and I started. It clicked.” 

BYB started with a Facebook post. Johnson simply asked if anyone wanted to be trained by him.  

Tyreke Williams, a student at Taliaferro County High School, was the first one to respond to Johnson. Since then, Johnson’s brought in several more trainees.  

During training sessions, Johnson can often be seen filming videos on his phone while the participants run various drills. He posts the videos on Facebook and Instagram accounts he created for BYB, which has broadened Johnson’s reach; BYB’s Facebook page has around 340 ‘likes,’ and its Instagram account is nearing 900 followers.  

Johnson said his social media use propelled BYB and attracted a considerable amount of attendees.  

“I got on Facebook and said, 'Does anybody want to be trained or need help getting recruited into college?' and it started with Tyreke Williams from Crawfordville,” Johnson said. “He said he wanted to get trained, and we got in the gym and I started shooting videos and started putting myself out there on my own and with some of my friends' help, and I went from one kid to probably 17, 18 kids. People ask me every day or every other day about trying to get their kid involved in my program.” 

In addition to teaching area kids the fundamentals of basketball, Johnson wants to bring in college coaches so the older participants can be recruited. Johnson said he’s been in contact with coaches from Benedict College, Alcorn State University, Paine College, Arkansas Pine Bluff and Johnson C. Smith University.  

Johnson said he’s seen athletes from the area, such as his cousin Jarius Wynn (Georgia) and Joshua Nesbitt (Georgia Tech), leave for bigger colleges. He hopes to bring that kind of attention to his trainees, too.  

The social media exposure certainly helps get the players more attention, but Johnson puts in extra effort to make sure college coaches are aware of their skills. 

“I might sit and get on the internet and look for email addresses and spend at least an hour, two hours of my time just to put those tapes out,” he said. “It's just something that I love to do. It's me; it's my company and I'm the only person, so I'm doing three or four different jobs at a time.” 

Johnson charges $75 per month to those who train with him. He said he runs “at least” two or three sessions each week, and the practices last around two hours apiece. Johnson coaches kids of all ages, ranging from elementary-age kids to teenagers. Johnson primarily hosts training sessions at the GCRD and inside the Union Point gym. 

There is a unique intensity to the BYB training sessions, Johnson said, because he employs a rigorous training regimen. He is able to offer them year-round, too, which is something middle and high school coaches in the area can’t do because of their respective league rules.  

Because of that, Johnson wants to help local basketball players constantly hone their skills. He wants to be more involved with area coaches, including Isaac Givens at Carson Middle School. Johnson was an assistant coach last year for the CMS boys basketball team. 

Last Saturday, Givens hosted a camp at CMS for middle school students. Johnson helped, and he said he appreciates the privileges of having another coach during training sessions. 

Johnson said former Greene County players Vernon Hughes and Tre Christopher have helped him during sessions, and his family members and friends have pitched in as well. Johnson said he’s proud of the camaraderie that’s been established via BYB.  

“That's the beauty of working those camps: I get to work with coach Givens, and he's willing to help me,” he said. “My friends are sports-oriented also, so if I need them to come, they're there. And my family that loves basketball, they'll come sometimes to work out with some of the kids, too. Even some of the college kids will come down and work with me or work with some of my kids. It brings not only hard work, but it brings teamwork, it brings brotherhood, sisterhood.” 

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