Jaylen Johnson is on the good side of University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino.
The junior from Ypsilanti, Mich., has been lauded for his progress and his transformed body twice in a week by Pitino, who had been known to get on Johnson for not being in shape his first two seasons at U of L.
On his blog Monday, Pitino called Johnson the team's "best surprise."
In an interview with WHAS-840 host Terry Meiners last week, Pitino said the improvement of Johnson has "been by far the most noticeable thing to me this summer," as the Cardinals' work out in preparation for next season.
"It's taken a little longer with Jaylen, but it's finally gotten to him," Pitino said. "He finally realizes how important it is to keep his body like a temple. His body has changed and it's so much more noticeable how much better he is."
The 6-foot-9 Johnson started 22 games last season and averaged 5.1 points and 3.5 rebounds a game. He averaged just 17.5 minutes a game but Pitino said he's in better shape and on his blog talked about Johnson's energy-level being higher.
"His downfall has always been his poor conditioning," Pitino wrote. "He has worked hard on transforming his body. Results: More energy, better decisions, and more activity rebounding the ball. If he stays conscientious, a big change will occur in his junior season."
Here's the rest of the blog: LINK