Nick Johnson: A Closer Look

Expectations will be high for Nick Johnson this season. Read on to see what those expectations are, how he did last season, and more analysis.

With the season not too far away, we will take a look at how and what each Arizona basketball player did last season and what expectations he will have placed upon him for this season as well. We will start with returning guard Nick Johnson, who many expect to make a large jump from last season.

How he fared last season: Johnson's season was extremely inconsistent, as the opening game of his career may have encouraged some unrealistic expectations. Johnson scored 14 points and had six assists in the season opener against Valparaiso.

Johnson would go on to score in single digits three of his next four games before having his best game of the season on the road against New Mexico State. In one of the toughest environments of the season, Johnson played a season-high 34 minutes while scoring 19 points on 8-14 shooting and not turning the ball over.

Johnson would build on that game, as he scored 14 against Clemson two games later and followed with 13 against Gonzaga in the game after. It looked as if Johnson had finally put everything together and was showing the potential that made him one of the top prospects in the class.

However, Johnson would show the inconsistency that often comes along with being a freshman. On December 31, he scored 14 points in a blowout win against Arizona State, but combined to score six points on the Los Angeles road trip. Thankfully, Johnson returned home to score 19 points in an overtime win over Oregon State, where a put back dunk changed the momentum of the game completely.

Johnson struggled a bit going into February before scoring 18 points against Utah and two games later putting up 20 in a loss at Washington.

Unfortunately, that loss at Washington would basically be the last good game of the season Johnson played. In the final seven games, including the NIT loss to Bucknell, Johnson only scored above five points three times, one of which included a 3-11 performance against Oregon State.

Basically, it looked as if Johnson had hit a freshman wall and with the suspension of Josiah Turner at the end of the season, he was being asked to do things that he frankly should not have been asked to do.

Expectations: Expectations are high for Johnson this year. He has had a year to be able to improve in numerous areas and the addition of Mark Lyons will allow him to mostly play his natural position at shooting guard.

In addition, a healthy Kevin Parrom will push Johnson and with there being so much talent on the roster, Johnson is basically forced to perform well or see his minutes decrease.

Johnson is the type of player that could see 20-25 minutes per game and while some may have it even higher, the amount of talent and lineup possibilities allow us to predict those types of minutes for him.

It is completely possible that Johnson will thrive and the most interesting aspect of his game may be whether or not he has improved at the point should Lyons have to come out of the game.

Ideally, Johnson is the type of player that does a little bit of everything and one that can be trusted at the end of games, which may not have been the case last season.

Quotable: "I also have to say that Nick Johnson, in twenty-six games at Arizona probably played his best game tonight, coming up big for us in the second half and played with the energy we needed in order to get the win."- Sean Miller after a 70-61 win over Utah.

"It feels great beating ASU. I'm just glad to be on this side. I'd like to say it was just another game, but I was emotional, you know my dad played here and I was recruited by them for four years, so it feels good to do what we did."- Nick Johnson after a 68-51 win over Arizona State.

"He is just such a winner, and brings so much energy to our team. We are extremely fortunate to have him."- Sean Miller after a 73-63 win over Ball State.

"Nick Johnson had a good run previous to the Pac-12 tournament and he fell off a little bit. Freshmen are going to have their breaks and we aren't going to ask them to go out there and be superstars. If they do, it will add to the team."- Solomon Hill


Wildcat Authority Top Stories