Player Spotlight: John Johnson
John Johnson made his Penn State debut over a month ago against Mount St. Mary’s. Since his breakout (team-high 20 points) first appearance, the combo guard has slowed down, to the tune of a seven points per game average over the last seven contests.
The Pittsburgh transfer played in each of his 39 games with the Panthers, and was mainly used as a long-range shooter, only getting the starting nod twice.
Johnson has shown the ability to provide depth at guard, when starters like Tim Frazier and DJ Newbill need breathers.
With Johnson averaging about 22 minutes a game, head coach Pat Chambers knows he can resort to his bench.
When asked if he was satisfied with depth up to this point, Chambers promptly responded with, “Yeah with the freshmen and the transfers and with John Johnson, we’re going to have great depth.”
Getting adjusted from practice speed to game speed takes time and Chambers noted his junior guard would need that time.
“It’s going to take him some time (to get adjusted). He shot the ball extremely well, filled our statistical categories,” said Chambers.
In his time at Pitt, Johnson was an outstanding free throw shooter, averaging 83.3% from the line, during his freshman campaign and was able to earn the team’s free throw shooting award.
Since his Nittany Lions debut, the need for adjustments has been evident. From beyond-the-arc Johnson is a mediocre .33% this season, and has to cut down on the turnovers with already 13 to his name.
However, his presence on the court appears a confident leader that has established close camaraderie with his teammates.
There are signs of hope, including a clutch shot late against Indiana, and another one to put the Nittany Lions up by five, with just 16.5 seconds left to go in regulation, in their first Big Ten victory of the season against Nebraska.
Another enlightening statistic is that he has not missed from the free throw line this year, albeit it is a small sample space of only eight attempts.
Johnson’s sensational free throw shooting ability to be a huge factor throughout the rest of the season on whether or not he will see an increase or decrease in minutes late in ball games. During crunch time, when Penn State needs a deadly accurate free throw shooter and a man with the confidence to get it done, John Johnson has the potential to come up big.
Nicholas Diecidue is a sophomore majoring in Energy Business and Finance. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Abby Drey)