David Johnson continues to progress for Louisville backcourt


David Johnson was a little more critical of his performance against Pittsburgh than his coach.

The freshman played a career-high 20 minutes, finishing with 11 points and four assists in Louisville men’s basketball’s overtime victory over Pitt Jan. 14. Louisville coach Chris Mack said it was Johnson’s best game yet after the comeback win, but Johnson didn’t quite agree.

“I think it was okay, I don’t think I played that well,” Johnson said. “I had some forced turnovers that I shouldn’t have had. Defense was average, I think I could have done better, but we came away with a win, that’s all that matters.”

Johnson had three turnovers, which he attributed to not making the right decisions. He believes his decision making will improve as he develops a better feel for where his teammates are on the floor.

The 6-foot-5 guard is still learning his teammates because he missed nearly four months with an offseason shoulder injury. Johnson had surgery on his left shoulder July 30, rehabbing for the next several months.

Johnson missed the first four games of the season before appearing for the first time against USC Upstate Nov. 20. He said the injury put him behind.

“Sitting out for that long, once I got back, I didn’t really feel like I was back until maybe a couple weeks ago, that’s when I started being really comfortable,” Johnson said. “Now I can start to get the feel for things, I feel a lot better.”

Johnson averaged just five minutes per game in the first six games of his college career, but he has seen an uptick of playing time recently. Johnson has averaged 16 minutes in Louisville’s last four games.

Mack said the goal has been to get Johnson more experience. He thinks Johnson has grown each game.

“I think David is continuing to progress,” Mack said. “His ascension won’t come without dips, you just want his low points to be a lot higher than they were a month ago, two months ago.”

Johnson believes his decision making has improved from the beginning of the season, but he admitted to still learning Louisville’s defense. He says communication is the biggest part of the Cardinals’ defense.

“I feel like I am getting the concept a lot better with Coach Mack’s type defense he plays, getting a lot quicker on the ball, using my length to guard smaller players,” Johnson said.