That’s A Wrap: Robert Johnson

  • 04/06/2018 9:26 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2017-2018 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Robert Johnson.

Johnson (31 games): 14 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, .8 steals, 37.3 3PFG%, 70.4% FT in 34.2 minutes per game.

The 2017-18 season was Robert Johnson’s first opportunity to be the primary option in Indiana’s backcourt.

In Johnson’s first two seasons, he was often the third option behind Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. And as a junior, Blackmon Jr. was the clear go-to-guy for the Hoosiers in the backcourt.

With Blackmon Jr. moving on to pursue professional opportunities and a coaching change from Tom Crean to Archie Miller, there were plenty of adjustments for Johnson to make in his final season in Bloomington.

First, as Johnson explained recently in his interview on Podcast on the Brink, there was a major adjustment in how Indiana prepared on a game-to-game basis under the new coaching staff. Rather than becoming hyper focused on specific teams or specific players, the Hoosiers instead focused on things they needed to do as a team each game in order to be successful.

“With the old staff, we pretty much game planned for each game specifically to that team,” Johnson explained. “The things that we were doing day-to-day were predicated on who we were playing. This year, our defense and our coverages were always the same. We were always going to play the same style of defense and we were pretty much always going to have the same type of early offense and a core set of plays that we went to.”

Despite a lack of other scoring options in the backcourt, Johnson saw his usage rise just marginally from 21.7 percent as a junior to 22 percent as a senior. Much of that can be attributed to the emergence of Juwan Morgan, who went from a role player as a sophomore to Indiana’s highest usage option as a junior.

Johnson’s efficiency took a dip in his final season as his 2-point shooting percentage fell from 53.5 as a junior to 47.9 as a senior. His free throw percentage also dropped by 5.1 percent. Johnson’s assist rate and turnover percentages didn’t change much from his junior to season seasons.

Defensively, Johnson grew into one of the Big Ten’s best perimeter defenders in his final season. While defense was a strength of his game as times throughout his first three seasons, Johnson stepped things up to another level as a senior.

Archie Miller has zero tolerance for anything less than 100 percent effort defensively and Johnson’s 34.2 minutes per game are proof that consistently worked hard on that end of the floor. According to Synergy Sports, Johnson ranked in the 84th percentile nationally when defending ball handlers in pick-and-roll situations. As a junior, he ranked in just the 35th percentile.

Johnson was also forced out of his shell and became a more vocal leader in his final season, a role that he never had to play previously. While Indiana’s on court success didn’t live up to expectations, it certainly wasn’t due to a lack of effort on Johnson’s behalf.

Bottom line: Johnson wraps up his Indiana career with 1,413 points, which is 21st all-time in program history. He also tied a school record with his nine made 3-pointers in IU’s win at Iowa on Feb. 17 and won a Big Ten championship as a sophomore. Beyond his on court impact, Johnson should be remembered fondly by IU fans because of how he handled himself off the floor. He was a strong ambassador for the program and solid contributor on the floor for four seasons.

Quotable: “I think I just want to be remembered as a guy who despite whatever circumstances that I came across, I tried to do my best to give the team everything I had and to help the team win in any way I could.” – Johnson prior to Indiana’s final home game when asked how he would like to be remembered by IU fans.

PreviouslyJustin SmithAl Durham Jr.Clifton MooreDevonte GreenDe’Ron DavisZach McRobertsJuwan MorganFreddie McSwainTim PrillerJosh Newkirk, Collin Hartman

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  • GHG

    On a totally unrelated note. Trendon Watford is being visited by Avery J and Archie sometime this week. Kid seems to be all in on Alabama from his twitter, but let’s keep fingers crossed for Wat2.0

  • ImYourHuckleberry

    Let the hating commence….?

  • Ivan Renko

    thanks for the past four years RoJo. I loved watching you play.

  • And One

    Nothing but love for Rob. He done good.

  • ImYourHuckleberry

    I agree and I would have thought the same for Collin. Others feel strongly toward the other end of the spectrum. Just wait. They’ll be here.

  • ImYourHuckleberry

    Truth! Rob was all heart. Great competitor.

  • GHG

    Funny, I thought Juwan was the heart of the team.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Rob became one of my all time favorite Hoosiers after hearing his interview with Alex and Jerod on POTB. He is such a genuine guy and a Hoosier to the core. It was awesome to see him help lead the Big 10 team to the inaugural 3x3U national championship!

  • Koko

    Well done RJ….loved watching you over your four years with IU.
    Good luck in life and livingness.

  • ImYourHuckleberry

    What he said ??

  • Mark Bando

    One of my favorite things about RJ is that he always tried to do what the team needed from him to win. When DD went down and Archie asked the guards to rebound more, RJ frequently became one of the team leaders in rebounds.

  • MK

    I appreciate what Rojo brought on a nightly basis. His defense was also great this year. I’ll never quite understand the reason he completely lost his confidence at the beginning of this season. Catching the ball and dribbling looked difficult for him at times. That said, I think he had a very solid career overall at IU.

  • N71

    I looked at his Twitter account in reaction to your comment and I don’t know, he’s been labeled “Alabama” for a long time now but it may not have gotten real serious yet, the recruiting that is. There’s proximity in Alabama’s favor and a relationship that’s been running for a few years now with the staff. BUT…if he’s open and interested in Indiana, with his brother and the staff now working him, perhaps the worm can be turned.

  • N71

    Rob was good, tough, reliable, and represented the university well. He should be proud of his college career. Rock solid dude.

  • RonMlarkey

    Great role player or third or fourth option, unfortunately as we saw this season if hes a teams Go To guard that team is not going to be very successful due to his ball handling and shooting constraints along with turnovers.

  • iugradmark

    Rob turned himself into a very good rebounder and we are going to miss that skill next year.

  • RonMlarkey

    Many people on this website, such as yourself, cannot handle the truth however I will continue to provide it in efforts to build a more informed and less delusional community.

  • RonMlarkey

    You are right about the dribbling, many times it looked as if he simply forgot how to do it, dribbling off his foot, losing the ball mid drive, stepping out of bounds etc.

  • coachv

    nice livingness usage

  • He’s just baiting us. It’s a bit pathological, but that’s the internet for you. I fell for it yesterday, won’t do it today.

  • Mark Bando

    We have more size coming in so hopefully the guards wont need to help as much.

  • Rob was the anchor of this past season’s defensive improvement. If there were nothing else about the kid, that would be enough to put him on my list of favorite IU players. But he’s also one of the most tireless workers I’ve seen in candy stripes, and he seems like a great kid all around. He’ll be missed next season, but he should be remembered as one of the players who helped establish the hard-nosed, hard-working culture that Archie wants to instill at IU.

  • Mark Bando

    I think your problem is that you exagerate to the negative. For example, wouldnt it be more accurate to say second or third option instead of third or fourth option.

  • Ivan Renko

    hear hear

  • coachv

    if he was the heart the team needs a heart transplant. i’d say morgan or mcroberts would be the heart. the heart of the team should be someone with a little more fire in them like bryant. really missed bryant this year. he should have stuck around another year.

  • Ivan Renko

    his problem is he’s stuck in a perpetual cycle of negativity and being a troll. not to mention being the worst “fan” i’ve seen on ITH’s comment sections

  • RonMlarkey

    Depends on how successful you would like to see the team, He was our second option this year on a team that struggled with horrendous guard play and didn’t even make the NIT. He probably would have been the 7th or 8th option on the National Championship Villanova team. I think ideally a player of his caliber should be coming off the bench as a 6th man spark for any team with tournament aspirations and hopefully that will be the case in coming years.

  • Mark Bando

    His glass is certainly half empty.

  • Ivan Renko

    i’d say completely empty. or maybe full…but full of ipecac

  • John D Murphy

    Replacing rojo’s production is my one real worry for next years team being improved over this years team. We’re going to miss him. I think he’ll get some run in the summer league

  • ImYourHuckleberry

    Very solid 4 year guard that complimented lead guards perfectly. Only thing he lacked was that leadership/top dog trait. He was a silent assassin. He improved in some aspect every year. This year just buying into Archie’s plan and proving to everyone, but more importantly himself, that he could be a solid lock down defender we so badly needed.

    Just a humble, hardworking kid that all of us should be happy we got to watch. Thanks Rob!

  • Hoosierkamp

    Love this guy. Obviously I (and everyone) did get frustrated with some stinker offensive games. But man he brought it defensively. I loved watching him lock guys down. And if you told me he shot 37% from 3 and averaged 14 points per game….. and was a great defender… i would take it. Wish him all the best

    I think Rob gets some unfair criticism because he was expected to do way too much. He was a great 4 year player. He was never the elite go-to-go…. but would you need atleast 1 Rob Johnson is every class. Hes a perfect guy for a team.

  • Ivan Renko

    your schtick is getting old. rob deserves a round of applause from fans, not your veiled criticisms.

  • KingofKentucky
  • sarge

    The delusion is that you are an informed basketball expert or that everyone cares for your opinion. This guy knows what he is talking about, he plays ball recreationally like everyone who ever played.

  • sarge

    Thank you RoJo for all your hard work. We couldn’t have made the smooth transition to a new coach without you. I have really enjoyed watching you play and leaving your heart and soul on the floor every single game.

  • GHG

    I mean i hope to see him in Cream and Crimson as much as anyone!

  • sarge

    Recreationally speaking, nice upvote for yourself

  • Bill Graham

    Thank you Robert Johnson

  • Bill Graham

    Great post sarge well said

  • sarge

    Thank you sir! I hope you have a great weekend.

  • Fifer39

    I agree with Bill, it’s a really good point about how important RoJo was for Archie in the transition period. He gave his all for both administrations and you can’t ask for more than that.

  • coachv

    i wouldn’t call losing to ft wayne, indiana st, lousy shooting, and having a poor record a smooth transition

  • Kwang

    Who upvotes themselves? Oh. Ok. Malarkey.

  • Kwang

    I wish there were still down votes, not to you Ivan, you know who.

  • Kwang

    Down vote. There.

  • marcusgresham

    I would also love to see him at IU, but I kind of wonder if it isn’t an either/or thing with Watford and Jackson-Davis. I know there are some differences in their games, but they basically play the same position and could steal minutes from one another.