Stanley Johnson has played a lot of road games in his career, with most of them coming while at Mater Dei High School.
The Arizona freshman recognizes one common theme in each game.
“I’ve played a lot of great teams and I think one thing in common is that when you go somewhere else to play and it’s not your house, a lot of the fans don’t like you,” Johnson said.
“They are going to talk a lot of mess and once they get the lead, it is going to be loud.”
The easiest way for Johnson and his teammates to get through that adversity is to recognize what makes them successful.
“ You just have to stick with it,” he said. “At the end of the day we know who we are and we do what we do. We honor the process every day and we keep grinding.”
Sometimes, that means having to win games ugly.
“We are not a team that is going to be flashy, we’re going to have four ten minute wars and every war try to chip away and get a one-point win, two-point win, three-point win, seven-point win, and then win the game and we’re happy,” Johnson said.
Arizona’s game at UTEP was the first college road gamer for Johnson and, if anything, it was a learning experience for the freshman.
“This was my first time playing on the road,” Johnson said. “I was interested to see how I would respond.
“I think McKale is really easy to play because every time you do something good, it gets really loud in there and gets the other team nervous.
“Out here I didn’t have somebody to tell me good job. After I miss a shot they are going to boo me and call me overrated and stuff like that. You have to stay head strong, have to be mentally focused.”
One of the players that helped Johnson do that is Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who he made sure to credit after the game.
“I think Rondae was the MVP of the game just because of his leadership with me, the plays he made down the stretch, and defending everybody on the court as usual,” Johnson said. “My hat off to him, as a big brother I look up to him because he does everything right.”