Brandon Johns had himself quite a day against Indiana on Sunday.
The freshman was called upon to compete with an all-conference caliber player, Juwan Morgan, because of Isaiah Livers’ injury and foul trouble for Austin Davis and Jon Teske.
Johns impressively stood his ground in his 13 minutes of playing time. Most notably, Johns had a quality game offensively. He shot 4-of-5 from the field, scoring eight points.
For the first time this season, Johns looked comfortable in the offense. He was setting good screens and rolling hard to the basket. This was evident on my favorite play of his from the ballgame:
It’s just a simple screen and role, but Johns had the awareness to hit the role early as Morgan switched on to Simpson too early off the screen. That helped lead to a highlight play for Johns.
An underrated component to his game on Sunday was his rebounding. He boasted a team-high 40.4 rebound percentage. He totaled eight rebounds in just 13 minutes of play. Johns dominated the boards in his breakout performance.
Sunday’s game was just Johns’ second of the season where he played more than 10 minutes. We have seen so little from him, yet he may already have outplayed his competition for the backup five spot.
That competition comes from Davis, who struggled yet again. The junior forward played just three minutes and picked up four fouls against Indiana. Davis has now tallied a few rough performances in a row. He struggles to move his feet defensively, isn’t much of a threat on the offensive side of the ball and just looks out of sync with everyone else.
Johns has his own defensive issues, but the production he showed in just one game has surpassed anything fans have seen come from Davis this season. It’s time we see some more minutes for the freshman as he continues to try and prove himself as a reliable player off the bench.
Here is Johns’ postgame press conference: