Louisville's David Johnson shows poise against EKU
There was good and bad in David Johnson’s performance against Eastern Kentucky, but there was poise throughout. The freshman logged a career-high 17 minutes in Louisville men’s basketball’s 99-67 victory over Eastern Kentucky (EKU) at the KFC Yum! Center Dec. 14.
The 6-foot-5 guard finished with five points, two rebounds and two assists as a substitute for a Louisville team that shot 63 percent from the field. Johnson directed Louisville’s offense against continuous pressure from EKU.
Louisville coach Chris Mack said it’s good for Johnson to see different looks from opposing defenses.
“It’s good to have those experiences with a smaller guard up under him,” Mack said. “Not only is he dealing with his primary defender, they’re randomly running and jumping. He made some turnovers in those moments, but he also did a good job, put the accelerator on and got to the rim.”
Johnson, a Trinity High School graduate, made several nice plays in the first half. He drilled a 3-pointer from the wing and later found Malik Williams for a layup. In the second half, Johnson drove into the lane and sent a pass to Dwayne Sutton for a corner 3-pointer that gave Louisville a 77-46 lead.
His teammates know Johnson is a more than capable passer with the ability to find anyone on the floor, so they’re ready when he has the ball.
“I could tell there was something different about his game,” freshman Samuell Williamson said. “He plays with a lot of poise. He is a real long, big point guard, can guard multiple positions. I love the way David plays, he lets the game come to him.”
After shoulder surgery in July, Johnson missed the first four games of the season. He made his first collegiate appearance against USC Upstate Nov. 20, averaging just five minutes per game going into Louisville’s matchup against EKU.
Mack said in his pregame press conference that Johnson needed more minutes. The freshman got some more minutes Saturday. He played eight minutes in the first half and had an impression on the game.
“I think sometimes you have to go through some positive and negative experiences on the game floor to be better the next time,” Mack said. “I like what David did today, I think he is only going to get better and better.”
Johnson had three turnovers against EKU, but Mack said the point guard won’t get too high or too low after big plays or mistakes because of his calming demeanor.
“He is not going to get rattled,” Mack said. “That’s a really good thing to have, poise as a freshman.”