Freshman Johnson Adjusting to College Hoops

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Guard Ryan Johnson is enrolled at Rutgers and hard at work to learn the college system. After scoring 2,000 points in high school, Johnson discussed the transition to the next level and the need to start over.

Ryan Johnson is used to having an offense run through him, and has to make adjustments as an incoming freshman at Rutgers.

The 6-foot-5 wing scored 2,000 career points out of New Hope Christian Academy. If he wants to get anywhere near there at Rutgers, the learning curve is a big one, he said.

“I’m going to have to get my teammates the ball first and foremost,” Johnson said. “I’m able to knock down the big shot if that’s what it comes to – do whatever it takes to win. I’m so used to running the offense back in high school, but I have to learn this system. Without a doubt, it is going to be smooth when I get it.”

Johnson enrolled at the end of June along with the majority of his recruiting class. Working out with coaches and teammates, learning the system and improving in the weight room are his preseason goals.

“I definitely have to get stronger, and I have to get quicker,” Johnson said. “The game is going to come to me. The system is great, so it will come in time. … A lot of teams in the NBA are doing this, so running it as a college program is really kind of difficult to learn. I know when I get it down, it’s going to be really good.”

Johnson projects to play the two and three off the bench, and can expect ball-handling responsibilities with the lack of true point guards on the roster.

“It’s a great place but it’s different,” Johnson said. “The school here is very different. It’s a great education, but it’s also basketball that I have to learn. It’s coming along, but it’s a transition.

“It’s a more physical game and the speed of the game is kicked up. Everything is faster, and I have to keep up. It’s coming back around.”

Johnson clicked with players during an official visit in the spring, but said being in the locker room is a better feeling. He cited seniors Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack as role models.

“They’re great leaders,” Johnson said. “Myles is always pointing me in the right direction. Even if he’s on the bench or not in for a drill, he’s going to be there with pointers. Kadeem is a great motivator in the weight room, inside the locker room. He’s always in high spirits. It’s a team effort. This is a great team that gets the concept. It’s like we’re a family. We help each other out.”

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