During his summer update press conference on Tuesday, Tom Crean had high praise for freshman Robert Johnson’s work ethic, vision and his strength.
“Robert Johnson is the strongest player flat out that we have ever brought into Indiana in the summer time regardless of position,” Crean said.
According to Crean, Johnson at the beginning of the summer was able to bench 185 lbs. 13 times. Now he’s at 15.
In addition to strength, Johnson’s vertical also impressed Crean.
“He came in here at 39 inches on the vertical and they will measure it again next week to see where that's at it,” Crean said. "He's got a pit bull mentality.”
But it wasn’t just Johnson’s athleticism that Crean the most praise for.
“Big thing with Robert now, he can play with his eyes up, play with vision and see a lot of different things,” he said. “But he's in the gym, he and James [Blackmon Jr.] are basically joined at the hip with the way that those guys work out after we work out or come back at night.”
That vision has helped Johnson pick up details in the game, especially during 4-on-4 and 5-on-5 drills in practice, according to Crean.
“The few times we have gotten down and competed in a group of 4-on-4, 5-on-5, (he’s) extremely well coached in some of the nuances and details of the game,” Crean said. “And now it's just a matter of consistency and it's a matter of more explosion.”