Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 25 Player Countdown. Each day, we publish a new article counting down the 25 best players in the Atlantic 10 this past season. Today, we continue our countdown with #16 B.J. Johnson
After spending his first two collegiate seasons as a reserve at Syracuse, B.J. Johnson transferred to La Salle and became the go-to-guy for the Explorers in the 2016-17 season. The Lower Merion, PA native torched opposing defenses and led La Salle in scoring during his first season with the team. Johnson, who decided to follow his father’s footsteps by playing for the Explorers, has found a home on the corner of 20th and Olney.
It didn’t take long for Johnson to settle in at La Salle. He put up double digit scoring numbers in six of his first seven games with the program. His top scoring performance of the season came against Florida Gulf Coast in December. Johnson went off for a career high 35 points against the Eagles. The big man knocked down three long balls and added twelve more points from the free throw line. His career night spearheaded La Salle’s 84-80 win over FGCU.
Johnson recorded three double doubles last season. In a matchup with UMass on February 2nd, Johnson played 36 minutes and had a game high 28 points. He added 11 rebounds, leading the Explorers to a 88-78 victory over the Minutemen. His other two double doubles came in a 3OT victory over Mercer and in La Salle’s A-10 opener against Dayton.
B.J. Johnson quickly became the focus of La Salle’s offense. His percentage of possessions used (25.9%) in conference play ranked ninth in the Atlantic 10. Johnson’s percentage of shots taken (30.1) was the second highest in the conference. The redshirt junior averaged a team high 17.6 points per game in his first season with the Explorers.
The 6’7 forward can also clean the glass. Johnson averaged 6.3 boards per game last season, and his 18.3% defensive rebounding percentage in Atlantic 10 play ranked 15th. He finished the season with an 5.6% offensive rebounding percentage against conference opponents as well.
B.J. Johnson helped bring energy and excitement back to a La Salle team that spent his redshirt season at the bottom of the Atlantic 10. Johnson has declared for the draft, but chose not to hire an agent, and it is very likely he will be back at La Salle next year. Despite losing a huge asset in Jordan Price to graduation, La Salle should be in good hands next season assuming Johnson returns.