David Johnson wants to grow as a leader

Point guard led ACC in assists among freshmen in conference games in 2019-20
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David Johnson would have pursued feedback from the Undergraduate Advisory Committee on his potential NBA Draft stock following his freshman year, but the uncertainty surrounding the draft process due to the global pandemic halted the opportunity.

Johnson knew he would return to Louisville men’s basketball for his sophomore year with or without feedback from the professional level. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 6.3 points and 2.8 assists who played his best basketball in the second half of the season.

“I thought about it, but I was unsure of the whole situation because of what was going on. I wasn’t really educated on all of that, so I decided not to,” Johnson said. “I didn’t want to put my name out there and do that without any knowledge of what is going on because I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

After missing nearly four months recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, Johnson slowly worked into Louisville’s backcourt rotation in late November. In the final 15 games of the year, the Louisville native averaged 8.9 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds.

Johnson had a breakout performance Jan. 18 against Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium, finishing with 10 points and seven assists in Louisville’s victory over the then third-ranked Blue Devils. He was named the ACC Freshman of the Week following the performance.

Johnson called his freshman season an “up and down year.” He has spent time this offseason watching film to evaluate his play.

“I feel like I was up and down a majority of the season because I was trying to adjust to everything as I went on, which was pretty tough to do,” Johnson said.

With access to a gym for weights and basketball workouts during quarantine, Johnson hopes to get stronger and improve his shooting. He wants to become more of a vocal leader and an extension of coach Chris Mack on the floor as a sophomore.

Johnson believes next year’s team will be fun to watch. He is the second-leading returning scorer for the Cardinals along with being the ACC’s assist leader among freshmen in conference games.

Johnson says the team’s off the court chemistry will help.

“Once we get together and we are doing all the things that Coach has us doing together on the court, then that will be a lot easier to learn each other from that point on,” Johnson said.