Johnson continues to grow

Stanley Johnson has matured from the start of the season. Read on to see how that is and more.

Stanley Johnson played at some big games at Mater Dei, but he acknowledges that none are as big as the ones he has experienced in the past few weeks at Arizona.

"I think it is different," Johnson said. "At Utah, after the game I felt it felt like a different game. It didn’t feel like a regular game. All I can take from high school is you have to go out and play like it is going to be your last.

"It is win or go home, so the stakes are higher. I’ve won a lot of games before and at the end of the game we can all make plays. It’s a whole different environment in college because the stakes are higher."

Sean Miller has been hard on Johnson at times, but he accepts it with an open mind.

"I didn't expect college to be easy and I have a lot of things to learn here," he said. "We still have a long ways to go, but I have had a lot of fun so far. The only thing better would be to keep winning and keep advancing.

"I asked to be coached. He’s (Miller) going to coach every player the same. He’s never going to come at a guy for personal reasons. It is all for the betterment of you and your team.

"You have to respect what he is saying. I take it as constructive criticism. I know where he is coming from. He is trying to make me better and this team better."

Miller is not the only one who has pushed Johnson to be better.

"I think for me, T.J. is a leader," Johnson said. "For a person like me that is young, he has helped me speed up the learning of me becoming a team player.

"He is an extension of Coach Miller, so any time I have a question or a situation is coming up in a big game, he knows what to expect and how to approach the situation. His leadership is invaluable to every person on our team."

Johnson has been careful to never take anything from Miller and McConnell personally.

"It was never one of those things where I thought these guys don’t like me," he said. "One of the main reasons I came here is to be coached and I want to learn. For me to get mad or go left or right would mean walking back on my own word.

"Everybody wants to win, so it is like that for everybody. The older guys have to lead and younger guys like me have to follow. If I am not doing something right, they shouldn’t be afraid to come at me and tell me what I am not doing right."

That experience has helped Johnson grow and mature throughout the season.

"I've grown tremendously as a player and person," he said. "Everybody here has done a good job of helping me out on and off the court. I’m still learning.

"As we keep going, things on the court I would have done when I got here, I made a whole turnaround. My attitude towards things now as compared to before is totally different now."

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