Returning players - Sean Johnson

By Steven DiMiceli
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It would be hard to argue that any one player improved more throughout the course of the '10-11 for the Dukes than Sean Johnson. He scored at least 17 points more often in the final 7 games of the season than in his first 55 contest of his college career. He closed the year with double figures in 6 of his final 8 games. More importantly, he proved to be a guy who wants to take the big shot with the game on the line by nailing a 3 pointer near the end of the St Bonaventure game to seal the victory. He also drew contact on a 3 pointer at the end of the Oregon game that put him in the position to tie the game at the free throw line. While he couldn't convert, he is beginning to look like the first Duke who wants the ball in his hands with the game on the line since Aaron Jackson.

Sean improved in every statistical category. His end of season hot steak nearly brought his season scoring average to double digits. He closed with 9.8 up from 5.6. He doubled his assist totals and shot better in every single category. His A/TO ration improved to a still unimpressive .97, but was up .24 none the less. He also improved on the boards and was counted on to play defense against some highly rated competition.

Still, Johnson was down right sloppy at times and his play really hurt the Dukes. He had 4 turnovers in 6 games including the 4 against Oregon in the final game of the year. It is quite possible that he was the difference between Duquesne and Penn St in the Dukes loss in Happy Valley. He turned the ball over 6 times and went 1 for 7 from the floor.

Moving Forward

 Dukes fans are expecting a lot from Sean Johnson next season because of the confidence and poise he ended the '10-11 season with. I've heard a number of comments about how Sean will take the sting from losing Damian and Bill, but what will take the sting away for Sean when he loses Damian and Bill? Let's face it Sean had tons of space to operate because of those two players. He and BJ will draw the brunt of the attention from defenses next year and he needs to show that he can play smarter with the ball. To Sean's credit he did create his own shot on a number of occasions. His dribble penetration was as effective as any Duquesne player by the end of the season. He was taking better shots as the year went along. Now he needs to make better decisions about passing. I would have no problem if Sean's assists did not increase between this season and next provided he is creating for himself and keeps his turnovers in check He needs to watch himself on the offensive fouls as well as the defensive fouls. He was on the giving end of way too many charges this year.

A couple of things to consider for Johnson moving forward. He's a pretty pure 2. The love affair with him as a 1 that people had in '09-10 is over. I also I think he should be our starting next year. It's hard not to get excited about this sophomore based on the final 8 games of the season. For all the hype about TJ this year, Sean seems a hair closer to being a guy who can take games over for the Dukes. He's the kind of close game player we've been searching for a long time even if we don't have a close game coach. Already, he's showing that he doesn't shy away from pressure and he has the guts to be the guy.

The best part? Sean is only going to be a junior.

Grade: B+

What he needs to do to get the A

14 Points per game
+ 1 Assists to turnover
Decrease Turnovers
Continue to seize leadership role