By: Isaiah Blakely
Sophomore guard Asianae Johnson was one of the best freshmen in the Atlantic 10 last season averaging over 27 minutes a game. Johnson who is still considered an underclassman is already viewed as a veteran.
Johnson started all 30 games and ranked third among freshman in scoring, averaging 9.7 points a game. Johnson added about 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
Head coach Jesse Fleming knows Johnson, despite only being a sophomore, has plenty of experience to play with the best of the best in the A-10.
“She’s played more than most juniors and played more than some seniors in this league have played,” Fleming said. “I don’t want any excuses of ‘I’m still young’ I feel like I’ve seen what Asianae can do and her good is great.”
Johnson isn’t fazed by Fleming’s expectations of her. “Honestly I’m a vet,” Johnson said. “I can’t look at myself as a sophomore because if I do then it’s like I’m under. I want to be over and understanding the game more and helping my teammates out especially with the new kids.”
Johnson scored in double-figures 13 times last season, but most of her scoring came attacking the basket because she only shot ten three pointers last year. This offseason Johnson said she focused on her shooting.
“Every day I was in the gym shooting more than 300 shots a day more than 500 shots a day just getting that shot right makes it easier on my game since it’s like I don’t have to do so much,” Johnson said.
Fleming said he’s seen improvement in her shooting, but he also said it’s not just shooting that he wants her to improve on.
“What I want to see out of her that she is a game changer as far as defensively that don’t show up in the stat sheet,” Fleming said. Fleming added that they want Johnson to guard the other team’s best player.
Johnson averaged a steal per game last season, but she said she wants to be a “scrappy guard” that gets a few steals per game.
Johnson has no doubt in her improvement as a player, but also believes that this team has bought in to the idea of being successful.
“No doubt in my mind, in our mind, in our coaching staff’s mind, my mother’s mind, my little brother’s mind,” Johnson said. “If any doubt is in your mind than it kills the whole thing. So we just want to keep our heads together.”
Johnson had a good start to the season in an exhibition win against Cortland tying her career high of 16 points.
Johnson and the Bonnies have the opportunity to build off the exhibition in the season-opener in the Reilly Center against St. Johns on November 5 at 5:00 p.m.