The 2011 recruiting class for Arizona basketball has often been regarded as one of the more impressive groups in the country. The first player to commit to Arizona from that class was highly-touted power forward Sidiki Johnson. Johnson chose UA over two years ago and never wavered. It's been a long time coming for Johnson and he is excited to be a Wildcat.
"Yeah I am happy to be here," Johnson said. "It's my new home."
Johnson has a high ceiling of potential, but he understands his role early on as he adjusts to the college game.
"Just defending and rebound," Johnson said. "That's what I'll bring to the team."
Over the last couple of seasons, the Wildcats have been short-handed in the post. With the arrival of the 2011 class, that may change. The additions of Johnson and Angelo Chol give UA two of the top big men from their class, but Johnson understands the difficulty of acquiring playing time at the college level early on in the season.
"It's tough with the upper classmen," Johnson said. "These guys know the program. They're real tough. I just follow their lead."
The big man has had over 24 months to prepare for this season. He has spent that time physically improving himself the college game.
"I have just been following the weight program," Johnson said. "(Strength and conditioning) Coach Chris Rounds is a great guy. He knows what he is doing. I believe in his program. So I just listen to coach (Miller) and Coach Rounds."
Johnson has put in plenty of work with Rounds since he arrived on campus. The freshman has confidence in Rounds' training methods and it has paid off with added muscle.
"I have gained 20 pounds since I have been here," Johnson said. "He pretty much knows what he's doing. I gained 20 pounds of muscle, so I believe in his system."
The group of freshmen Johnson enters UA with is a highly regarded quartet and all are expected to make their mark at Arizona. While the group has high expectations, he understands that making an immediate impact is going to be challenging.
"It's going to be tough," Johnson said. "We're going to have to fight. The older guys know their position. They know what they have to do. They all want to win, so it's going to be tough."
Basketball players come to Arizona with high aspirations. Johnson isn't an exception to that rule as he has his sights set on a conference championship and beyond.
"That's the goal," Johnson said. "Win the Pac-12 and win the national championship. That's all I have on my mind."
Johnson wants to make his mark
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