David Johnson developing defensively for Louisville
Chris Mack is willing to take the good with the bad as David Johnson continues to develop.
After being named the ACC Freshman of the Week, Johnson had 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting and three steals as Louisville men’s basketball defeated Georgia Tech 68-64 at the KFC Yum! Center Jan. 22. Johnson had 19 points and seven assists in Louisville’s victory over Duke last Saturday, expanding the expectations for the 6-foot-5 guard.
Johnson scored in double figures for the third straight game in Louisville’s win over Georgia Tech, its fifth straight victory.
“He made some plays that I think that you guys are starting to see what we’ve talked about as a coaching staff,” Mack said.
The Louisville head coach was more critical of Johnson’s defense. Mack wants Johnson to learn from experience as he improves defensively.
“He was a sieve, like a few of the other guys where guys went right around him,” Mack said. “David is a freshman, he’s going up against sophomores, juniors, guys that can really handle the ball and get to spots and have had ACC defenders on them.”
Mack said Johnson’s defense has come a long way and he has improved as an on ball defender, but he still suffers through moments when he can’t keep opponents in front of him.
Mack showed some trust in Johnson after the freshman picked up two fouls in the span of 30 seconds midway through the first half. Instead of sitting for the remainder of the first half, Johnson returned to the court with five minutes left before halftime.
“I just don’t think one-size-fits-all,” Mack said. “I look at it like ‘Okay, David ha two fouls with five minutes to go. Are we going to shit hi the whole half? He hasn’t picked up his third, obviously, if he does, let’s say worst case scenario, I’m going to take him out. He’s not starting the second half. Now we’re 15 or 14 minutes left in the game and he’s got three fouls. A lot of guys play with that.’ I didn’t have any concern.”
Johnson is averaging 13.3 points and 21 minutes in Louisville’s last three games.