Player Spotlight: John Johnson

Story posted December 3, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Jeff Jezewski

In December of 2012, Pittsburgh Panthers guard, John Johnson, announced his decision to transfer to Penn State. On Tuesday, the Nittany Lions will take on the Panthers in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for the first time since 2005. Due to his transfer, Johnson won’t be eligible to take on his former team. Despite not being able to take part in the contest, Johnson will be able to play a valuable role in practice for the Nittany Lions in the time leading up to the matchup.

The junior guard, from Philadelphia, was a prolific scorer in high school. During his high school career, Johnson was a four-time All-State selection, scored over 2,000 points and was ranked amongst the top 150 recruits on Scout.com. Despite being a Philadelphia native, Johnson played his senior year of high school ball for Life Center Academy in New Jersey, after playing his first three years at Girard College High School. 

While at Pittsburgh, Johnson saw time in all 39 of Pitt’s game during his true freshman year, averaging 14 minutes per game. He started two games and averaged four points per game for the Panthers. He was a three point marksman for Pitt, hitting 38.4 percent of his threes. He also led the team with an 83.3 free throw percentage.

Since transferring to Penn State, Johnson has been able to practice with the team, but won’t be eligible to play until December 22nd, when the fall semester ends.

During an October press conference, Johnson spoke on adjusting to game speed once he’s eligible.

“I don’t think it will take me long to get adjusted. We practice very hard and we go game speed in practice,” said Johnson. “The speed of the game won’t be a problem for me.”

Johnson will bring another shooting threat to Penn State’s offensive attack, when he becomes eligible. He will also add toughness and leadership to the Nittany Lions for the rest of his career.

During Media Day in the preseason, Penn State head coach Pat Chambers talked about John Johnson and his expectations for the transfer guard.

“John’s a shooter, a scorer, and a 22-year-old veteran that’s played in the Big East. I’m expecting him to play and he’s going to have some growing pains,” said Chambers. “We’re going to have to get him in practice, get him on the starting team and get his reps up.”

The main thing Johnson will add once returning to game action is depth.

“With the freshmen and the transfers and John Johnson starting in December we’re going to have great depth. We want to make sure we get these guys minutes,” Chambers said.

In the short layover between the Barclays Center Classic and the matchup with Pitt, expect Johnson to provide his teammates with any information possible to help give Penn State the upper hand against the Panthers. The 6’1’’ guard will suit up for his first game as a Nittany Lion against Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday, December 22nd.

Jeff Jezewski is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jvj5228@psu.edu.