Johnson keeps emerging

Arizona head coach Sean Miller continues to speak glowingly about Nick Johnson. Read on to see why Miller thinks Johnson should be Pac-12 Player of the Year and more.

Sean Miller has respect for each of the players on his team, but you can't help but notice his admiration when he discusses Nick Johnson.

"To me I would think Nick Johnson would be the leading candidate for to be the Pac-12 Player of the Year," Miller said.

There are two aspects of Johnson's season that Miller points to as being the basis for his belief.

"One, we're the number one team," Miller said. "I think that is always taken into great account by head coaches who vote. Also, just being very realistic and respective to him, he has had a phenomenal season. One of the best defensive guards that plays college basketball.

"From an offensive perspective, he is our leading scorer. Nick barely played any small forward before Brandon got hurt and since Brandon got hurt, he's been the guy that has shifted over. He plays three different positions for us on both offense and defense every game. He's really had an outstanding year."

Johnson has noticeably improved from last season and Miller believes that is an indication of how hard he has worked.

"I think it is just growth and maturity," he said. "He has yet another off season to work. One of the things that has really changed is that he has the ability to score in the middle. At first it was just as the rim and then he mixed in an occasional three.

"Now, he really has everything covered. He has a floater, runner, pull up, very good from two, better three-point shooter, still gets fouled, still very talented at the basket. From an offensive perspective, he has added something to what he does every year."

In addition, Johnson's intelligence on the court may not get the attention that it truly deserves.

"He's really smart," Miller said. "He's one of our coaches on the court. He knows what everybody is supposed to do at all times. He has a calming effect on our team because he doesn't get rattled easily.

"He's been through a lot of different scenarios, some which have worked out and others that haven't. That's done nothing but strengthen Nick as a player and really just more than anything he is the natural leader of our team."


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