Johnson emerging as leader

On Tuesday, Nick Johnson admitted that he considers himself the leader of Arizona. Read on to see what he said, his thoughts on ASU, and more.

All season it has been assumed that Nick Johnson was the leader on Arizona. Head coach Sean Miller had no problem saying it and either did his players.

However, junior Nick Johnson never really discusses his role at length and while he still has not gone into a ton of detail about it, he did admit that he now considers himself the leader of the Wildcats.<> "I'm a leader now and I know I am a lot more mature than past years," Johnson said. "I know I bring a lot of things to the table that don't show up in the box score.

"Everybody looks at me for confidence and stuff like that, so I try to stay confident for my team and know those shots will go in next game."

Johnson's leadership has never been needed more than it was when Brandon Ashley went down for the season.

Although he is obviously upset, Johnson does point to a silver lining of sorts that the injury helped form.

"I think when we lost Brandon, it opened up a few more opportunities," he said. "Obviously we don't want to lose someone that valuable to our team, but it opens up opportunities like Elliott playing a little more.

"Gabe gets a little more opportunity, Rondae gets a lot more opportunity, so I think it is a different obstacle for our team, but it is a plus in some ways."

Now attention turns to Friday's game against Arizona State, which is one that Johnson is certainly looking forward to.

"It is definitely a big game for us because it is our next one," he said. "It feels good going home. I didn't really get a chance to play there too much when I was in high school. It is definitely an honor to go back there. I will have a lot of friends and family at the game, so it will be a good one."

Johnson's defensive assignment will change a bit on Friday, as he will be guarding Jermaine Marshall, who missed the first outing with an injury.

"He's a shooter," Johnson said of Marshall. "Unfortunately he did not play the first time, we were really looking forward to playing against him. I was looking forward to guarding him. We pretty much know his game and what he is going to do.

"He is a great pace changer for Jahii, who goes to the rim and is more attacking. He (Marshall) is more of a shooter, so we are definitely looking forward to playing ASU at its full strength."

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