West Point High School mourns loss of fallen classmate

Jashun Johnson
Collin Brister
Sports Writer

Jashun Johnson was mature. That’s what his friends, family, coaches and principals want you to know about him.
They want you to know that, over the course of his senior year, they saw the maturity of a young man soar. They saw him grow more and more every day.
They want you to know that “Peedy”, a nickname given to him by his mother as he was growing up, cared about people. He was always in-tune as to what was going on in the lives of those around him.
They want you to know that he had a plan. Johnson had been in Memphis last week talking to military recruiters and had elected to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.
He was one month away from putting that plan into action, being only a few final exams away from walking at West Point High School’s graduation in May.
Jashun Johnson won’t get to walk at that graduation nor will he be joining the Marines. On Saturday night, Johnson’s car left the roadway in Lowndes County and, during the resulting crash, he was ejected from the vehicle, and died at the scene.
“Peedy” played guard for West Point’s basketball team. He was a ball-handler. WPHS head basketball coach, Brad Cox, said Johnson was someone that teammates always enjoyed being around.
“What really stuck out about him was how he cared about everyone else,” Cox said. “He was really invested in everyone else’s life, and he just cared. The maturity that he had for someone his age isn’t something you see in everyone.”
WPHS Principal, Jermaine Taylor gleamed with praise about the late Johnson. He said that he often visited his office to discuss his future and, that over the past year, he saw a young man that knew what he wanted.
“He would come talk to me regularly about how he was getting himself together,” Taylor said. “He was a good kid. He had matured a ton this year. He was focused. He had his goals set. He was focused on achieving them.”
The West Point community hosted a memorial for Johnson on Sunday night at Zuber Park, a park at which Johnson grew up shooting basketball. That court, and everything that he brought to it, was his sanctuary.
“This was even more home to him than our court,” Cox said. “This was his spot.”
He loved basketball because his father, Jermaine Johnson, loved basketball. His dad said that he would oftentimes come get him and beg him to play. An orange ball and a hoop. That’s what he loved. That’s where he felt at home.
“Basketball was all that he ever wanted to do,” Johnson said. “He used to come get me all the time and we’d go play. He loved it because I loved it so much. He always wanted to be better than me. The coaches were crazy about him.”
The mass of people at Zuber Park lit candles and released balloons to recognize and remember the loss of a friend, student, brother and son. Two of the balloons stayed around, becoming entangled on a light pole.
“Somebody pointed out that the balloons that stuck around symbolized that Peedy didn’t ever want to leave this court,” Cox said. “He’s always going to be with us.”
Jermaine Johnson said he never told his eldest son had become a better basketball player than his father, but now he readily admits it. His dad was proud of the boy-turned-man he had raised.
“I felt that he had done really good for himself by going off to the marines,” Johnson said. “But I guess God needed him now to play for his team up there.”