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Player Feature: B.J. Johnson

From sophomore to junior year, B.J. Johnson made one of the biggest scoring jumps in all of college basketball. Johnson averaged 4.2 points per game for Syracuse, and after transferring and sitting one year, he averaged 17.6 per contest for the Explorers. Johnson and Price were a dynamic duo that managed to wreak some havoc in the Atlantic 10. The Explorers got off to a great start in conference play, but they’d end up slipping towards the end of the season. La Salle finished 9th in the league, but Johnson is expected to be back in a big way.

What He’s Done

B.J. Johnson scored in double figures in all games but 2 last season. His best performances came against Florida Gulf Coast and Massachusetts. In the former, he scored 35 points, and in the latter, he had a 28 point, 11 rebound double-double. Johnson took a lot of shots. His percentage of field goals attempted ranked 2nd among all players in the Atlantic 10. Needless to say, Johnson was a work horse, and he did make 44.9% of his attempts.

Johnson’s rebounding is what makes him more than just a high-level scorer. He was top 25 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentages in league play. In addition, he had 3 double-doubles last season. Factor in an 83.8% free throw shooting percentage, and you’ll see why B.J. Johnson was so potent his junior year.

What He’ll Do

I expect B.J. Johnson to score even more next season, as Jordan Price is no longer around. That said, don’t be surprised to see young guys like Pookie Powell and Saul Phiri step up and make drastic improvements as well. I think B.J. Johnson would greatly benefit from improving his assist to turnover ratio and his three point shooting percentage. The junior averaged 2.3 turnovers to just 1 assist last year, which really is not an impressive stat. If he can improve his vision on the court and commit fewer turnovers, he could make an NBA roster next summer.

B.J. Johnson will also have to shoot better than 36.2% from deep. This stat is particularly concerning considering the junior took 177 three point shots; that’s quite a few misses. Knock down more outside shots next season, and Johnson will become that much more deadly. I think a lot of people are talking about Peyton Aldridge and Jaylen Adams as probable players of the year, but consider B.J. Johnson a serious dark horse candidate.

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Grant Labedz is a college basketball superfan who loves the entire sport but definitely has favorites in the A-10 and the Big Ten. He has written for ...