Johnson looking forward to new role

Nick Johnson is in his junior year at Arizona, but his role has changed a bit this season. Read on to see why that is, his thoughts on a few of his teammates, and more.

Nick Johnson is a veteran by now and his experience is causing his role to change a little this season.

"Losing a lot of our leadership last year definitely is one of the bigger things in my role this year," Johnson said.

"Being probably the most experienced guy on our team, having played in a Sweet 16 and having two years under my belt in non-conference and the Pac and just in the system itself, so helping guys with stuff like that."

Johnson's minutes likely will not change and that is something that does not seem to faze him.

"I am happy with whatever I am given," he said. "If it requires me playing 35 minutes one day and 25 the next, I am fine with that as long as we are getting better progressively as a team."

The only way Johnson's minutes will decrease is if Gabe York is able to establish himself as an effective player, thus giving Johnson an ability to take more of a breather during games.

"Gabe definitely is one of the people that has a bigger role on our team this year," Johnson said. "He's gone into the summer and fall working hard and working on the things he needs to be working on.

"We were watching film of the scrimmage and it was clear that he has really made strides on the defensive end and that is going to be a big thing for him this year.

"Gabe has always been confident, obviously you lose a little bit when you are not playing as much, but he has always been a confident kid and it is good for our team."

In addition to York, Johnson will be playing with a true point guard for the first time while at Arizona.

"He is how he plays," Johnson said of T. J. McConnell. "He is all about the team. He is a true point guard and he is just worried about getting other people better.

"There was a lot of pressure on him coming in here, but I think he has handled it pretty well and he is looking forward to the season starts. I call him my little bull dog. He is so gritty and he gets on the floor, will be the first one on the ground.

"He is going to be great for me. I like to press up on defense and it is good to have another guy in the back court with you that likes to do that."

Starting Friday, Arizona will enter a span in which it plays five games in 12 days.

"It is going to be a tough task," Johnson said. "We have some good teams. First off, we are going to take it one game at a time. As a team just see where we are compared to other talent on our schedule, so it is going to be a good challenge for us, but it will be tough."

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