Louisville's David Johnson still learning to find plays


David Johnson sometimes searches for a play too much.

The freshman scored 16 points, but had four turnovers as Louisville men’s basketball lost to Georgia Tech Feb. 12 in Atlanta. Johnson kept Louisville in contention in the final moments of the Cardinals’ first loss since Jan. 4, scoring on consecutive possessions on drives to the rim before fouling out.

Johnson, a 6-foot-5 guard, once again showed his playmaking ability against Georgia Tech, but also made mistakes. Louisville coach Chris Mack wants Johnson to continue to gain experience and expects the turnovers to decrease.

Mack said Johnson is learning when to go and when not to go when pursuing plays.

“As much of a playmaker as he is, you have to wave the white flag on certain possessions and say ‘hey, really good job defensively, let’s move it to the next guy,’” Mack said. “At times he has been in search of a play to figure out how to make a pass when maybe that isn’t what the situation is called for.”

With a longer frame that is defended by smaller guards, Johnson’s ball placement on drives is important to avoid turnovers, Mack said.

“He had some careless ones where the ball got knocked off his thigh and out of bounds, he has to be ball strong,” Mack said. “He has to know that a lot of times because of his size the only advantage guards have is to try to reach and slap low.”

Johnson is averaging 9.7 points, 3.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds in his last nine games. He has six or more assists in three of the last eight games as a reserve for Louisville.

Mack wasn’t bothered by criticism surrounding Johnson that he didn’t score enough during the recruiting process because of the Trinity (Louisville) graduate’s size, athleticism and quickness.

“He sees the game a way that not too many see,” Mack said. “He is willing to make the right play, he wasn’t hungry to score, he still isn’t. He just wants to make the right play.”