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Season in Review: Logan Johnson

Johnson’s 2018-19 campaign was more about building for the future than the present season but he still managed to make his mark.

NCAA Basketball: Wichita State at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Numbers

  • 2.0 points per game
  • 1.2 rebounds per game
  • 0.7 assists per game
  • .469/.250/.700 shooting splits

Like many freshman that get a chance to play in their first season on a team with an established rotation, Logan Johnson had to readjust to being a role player this past season. He had been a do-it-all kind of player in high school in California and was used to scoring more than 20 points per game. Even with the Cincinnati Bearcats’ facing some roster turnover this past season, they were all set at the point with Justin Jenifer and Cane Broome. Despite that, Johnson found a way to work himself into the mix and by the end of the year, gave us an indication that he would be ready to do more in the future.

We’re going to focus on the immediate past for now, however. Johnson played in 31 games in his first season as a Bearcat, with the largely touted recruit averaging 7.3 minutes per contest. That is far from a starting workload but it was enough to get him acclimated to how the game is played at the college level.

As you might expect, even with some playing time, there wasn’t a lot of production to be had as the team’s 10th man. He scored two points per game and shot 46.9 percent from the field overall. Even when projected over 40 minutes, Johnson still didn’t perform like a high-volume scorer (11.2 points per 40 minutes) while his true shooting percentage came in at 53.8. That isn’t but since he made just a quarter of his admittedly few three-point tries, he was far from an overly efficient backcourt scorer.

Outside of his ability to put points on the board, the area where Johnson exhibited the greatest initial skill was defense. He had a defensive rating of 95.1, which was the fourth-best mark on the team. The key to his defensive success was his ability to anticipate passes and turn lapses from opposing teams into opportunities for the Bearcats. He led the team in steal rate (3.0 percent) and, as we’ll see in the Best of the Best section, he literally won a game with his defensive acumen.

Going hand-in-hand with that defensive work was his ability to produce on the glass. Despite standing at 6’2” and largely playing on the perimeter, he still averaged 10.4 boards per 100 possessions with a total rebound rate that outpaced Jarron Cumberland and Keith Williams.

Now if Johnson is going to be the point guard of the future, you’re probably wondering about his ability to distribute. He still has some work to do there, but he did have an 18.1 percent assist rate while producing roughly half an assist less than Broome on a per 100 possession basis.

The Best of the Best

Nov. 13 vs. NC Central

In just his second game as a Bearcat, Johnson turned in eight points, four rebounds and a pair of assists across 18 minutes.

Nov. 16 vs. Milwaukee

This performance portends to Johnson’s promise as a passer, as he handed out what still stands as a career-high six assists.

Nov. 27 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Johnson once again littered the box score, tallying eight points, four steals, three rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.

Feb. 7 at Memphis

After November, Johnson was used more sparingly, logging five games of at least 10 minutes the rest of the campaign. This was possibly the best of that bunch as he scored six points to go with four rebounds and two steals.

March 2 vs. Memphis

Johnson only played for three minutes but he made the play of the game, stealing a pass off a missed free throw to seal a 71-69 win.

For Next Year

With Jenifer and Broome both heading off for the next phase of their careers, Johnson will likely take on the mantle of starting point guard. His game is a bit different than his predecessors, as he hasn’t shown the ability to knock down threes like Jenifer or be an offensive spark plug like Broome. However, he has the potential to contribute across the board and and is already a better defender than both Jenifer and Broome. If given more chances, he could go from being a key contributor to an essential one.