Q & A: 2014 commit Robert Johnson talks IU visit, future

  • 11/11/2013 9:29 am in

Class of 2014 Richmond Benedictine (Va.) guard Robert Johnson was in Bloomington over the weekend for IU basketball’s season opening win over Chicago State and IU football’s win over Illinois.

Inside the Hall spoke to the future Hoosier on Sunday evening to get a recap of his trip, discuss his plans for signing day and more:

On the takeaways from the weekend in Bloomington:

“I think experiencing my first game (at Assembly Hall) was good. The atmosphere was crazy as I expected so I was excited to see that. I think the game went pretty well. Some of the things that you think would happen with a young team happened. They had more turnovers than coach (Tom) Crean would have liked. Some of the time they got out of what they really wanted to do, but at times also they had real good spurts, too. One of the things that he pointed out was that they scored 100 points and only made one 3. Obviously that’s something he pointed out and said that I can help with. That’s one of the biggest things that I took away from the game.”

On playing with James Blackmon Jr.:

“I think it’s definitely going to be fun because we both offer something that they need right now and there’s a lot of playing time at the guard positions. I think coming in with him is going to be fun because we’re interchangeable because he can play on the ball and I can play off the ball and at the same time, when I have the ball also, people can’t really help off of him because he’s a shooter and when he has the ball, people can’t really help because I’m a shooter. So it will just open the floor up for the whole team.”

On Indiana’s style of play and how he fits in:

“I’m real excited to have that freedom because that’s one of the things that separated Indiana from a lot of schools was the style of play. They like to get up and down and have the athletes to do that. Being able to do that, at the same time, there’s a lot of responsibilities that come with it as far as taking care of the ball and making all of the right plays. I think when you get out and run like that, everybody has a chance to have the ball and has a chance to score, so it’s fun.”

On what the Indiana coaches would like to see him work on:

“Coach Crean had told me a couple of things about the pick and roll that he wanted to see me working on. One of the main things that he said when he came last week was talking about pushing the ball out on the initial dribble. That’s something he said that I needed to make sure that I started to build a habit of doing is getting the ball out when I get it on the break. Other than that, he just showed me a couple of pick and roll things, but nothing that in-depth right now.”

On the outlook for his senior season at Benedictine:

“I expect to win. I think we have a good chance at repeating as state champions again. We’ve been practicing, but a couple of our main, key guys who are really good and big time athletes, they play football. Now that we have them back we can start building more on team concepts and things that like and get the ball rolling. I think we have a chance to be real good and I’m excited about the season.”

On his plans for the early signing period, which begins on Wednesday:

“I’m pretty sure I’ll be signing on Wednesday.”

On how tough the recruiting process was and how he feels now that it’s over:

“I think it was probably one of the toughest, if not the most tough, decisions that I ever made in my life just because of the simple fact that there was a lot of good coaches talking to me and basically telling me about their programs. But at the end of the day, when I thought about the things that I wanted, Indiana separated themselves from everybody else. I’m super relieved that the process is over and I don’t have to worry about it anymore and I can just go out there and play free and try to continue to get better so that once I get to college it will be an easier transition.”

On how Indiana was able to separate from the other schools involved in the process:

“The biggest thing I think was that every time I talked to coach Crean, he always talked about not how much he wanted me, but how much that they really, really needed me. I think there’s a difference between when somebody wants you and somebody really, really needs you because then they’re going to do everything in your best interest to make sure you get better because it not only is benefitting you, it is benefitting them also and benefitting the team. I think that was probably the biggest thing that separated Indiana.”

Filed to:

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Good to here all the rumors being squashed.

  • B T Express

    Man…this kid is very well spoken.

  • CMcClain11

    I am excited to have this young man on campus and on the hardwood in AH – Sign that dotted line RJ

  • inLinE6

    What was the tshirt he was wearing in that picture? Was it IU sweet-16 tshirt from last season?

  • Drew

    A little out of the loop, but what rumors?

  • banarish

    “I expect to win.”

  • BlakeD1223

    I was taking pictures at the IU vs Illinois football game on Saturday. Robert walked by me on the sidelines. I was surprised by his size. He wasn’t very big at all. I know the Hoosiers will put some muscle on him though. He’s definitely a smaller guard but I’m really excited to see him play next year.

  • HoosierPat

    I’m very impressed with how well spoken he is. He seems to have a very high basketball IQ. I also really like how he said he expects to win this year. It’s important to have competitors on the team.
    I also find it funny how all the players who visit for non-conference games say how crazy the atmosphere is. Once B1G season hits, the craziness is taken to a whole other level.
    I’m glad we were able to land this kid. I think he’ll be a very good player for the next few years.

  • iuoiu

    Not surprised at his comments at all – Benedictine gets some great kids and makes them even better. I’d compare him to Russell Wilson who also is from RVA – high IQ, high achiever, very mature for his age (Russell went to another private school, Collegiate). This kid is a huge commit for TC – so glad to have him coming to Bloomington!

  • Jordan

    If he was wearing the same sweatshirt sported in the picture then obviously he won’t look big, a loose fitting sweatshirt will do that.

  • Kyl470

    Some people said once JBJ committed that he would decommit from IU. No truth to those rumors though.

  • BlakeD1223

    I was talking about his height. Regardless, I’m glad we got em.

  • Jordan

    Ahh ok, well you said he wasn’t very big and then went straight into adding muscle so I assumed you meant strength wise.

  • BlakeD1223

    My bad, I should have worded that better.

  • Indiana_Banners

    How tall are you and how tall did you think RoJo was?

  • N71

    I agree with CTC, we’ll really, really need Robert knowing that Gordon will be gone. Robert sounds like he belongs, kind of like listening to Jordy, Yogi, or Will, very astute basketball minds.

  • BlakeD1223

    I’m 5’10. They have him listed at 6’3. Maybe he looked small because he was walking behind assistant coach Kenny Johnson. ha ha

  • esapata

    I was thinking the same thing. I was actually disappointed by the turnout that night. Sections A though F in particular had a lot of sparsely populated patches. Same with the balconies, but I suppose that’s to be expected.

  • CheesyHoosier

    You can tell that Johnson loves IU already.

  • SCHoosier

    Gee you mean they might have exaggerated his height going into college..unheard of. !!:) Love this kid..glad he’s a Hoosier.

  • SCHoosier

    Agree..with that School..and the family he has behind him….Rob will be a quality person..and player on day one!

  • hardcore_hoosier

    I was on the field when he walked by with KJ. He was definitely a full inch or more taller than me and I am 6′ 2″. Would say 6′ 3″ and a half.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    “I think coming in with him is going to be fun because we’re interchangeable because he can play on the ball and I can play off the ball and at the same time, when I have the ball also, people can’t really help off of him because he’s a shooter and when he has the ball, people can’t really help because I’m a shooter. So it will just open the floor up for the whole team.”

    Music to my ears…….and he’s right. With him and JBJ out top, other teams are basically going to have to pick which one they want to kill them.
    Shows his unselfish nature, as well.

    Can’t wait……

  • Jennifer G

    I had been hearing less buzz around the JBJ commitment and more around the continued recruitment of Jaquan Lyle….

  • Jennifer G

    I absolutely LOVE this about him. He might not have been born a Hoosier, but he IS a Hoosier at heart already. He is EXCITED to be coming to IU!

  • craig

    I hope this is not the last photo with RJ in it where there are illini cheerleaders frowning in the background!

  • Andrew

    Get used to it. B/c of the less-than-amazing home non-conf schedule, you won’t see AH truly packed until Jan. 4.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    It won’t be….

  • mark

    Does anyone realize jut how incredibly talented we will be next year? Everyone seems to be obsessed with the recruits we missed or one we’re after, yet really, look at the situation objectively: we’ll have several of the very best rebounders in the country, one of the very best playmakers, several of the very best athletes, a few really great shooters, and oh yes, at least 10 guys who could start for any other B10 team. The reason we missed out on several 5-star recruits is because THEY KNEW THEY WOULDN’T GET THE PLAYING TIME THEY WANTED as a freshman! Guys, next year we’re going to be better than last year’s team, and definitely a Final Four caliber team.

  • Snookafly

    I showed up for the first exhibition game and couldn’t even buy a ticket outside. Wonder why the drop off.

  • sarge

    I love what all these recruits bring to Indiana next year, but RJ is still my favorite of the 3.

  • Hoosier10

    I think it will be a lot like Curry and Thompson for Golden State, both are great shooters and you really just have to pick your poison.

  • Tucson Hoosier



    Exactly what I was saying when these ” misses ” signed to play somewhere else. Maybe as the season goes on more people will be able to see that.


    In all honesty wouldn’t you be frowning too if you were a cheerleader for the Whinin’ Illini ?


    Yep, that lie is not given a second thought even when it comes from Cali-lier. lol