Nevin Johnson spent last season observing Creighton’s run to the NCAA tournament from the bench as a redshirt freshman. This season, Johnson hopes to emerge as one of the Bluejays’ most explosive talents on the perimeter. After participating in the Metro Basketball League on Thursday night, the guard/forward from Houston, Texas, shared his experiences as a first-year Bluejay and what he hopes to add this upcoming season.
Q: Coming off your redshirt season, what do you look to add to the squad?
A: I hope to bring a lot of things to the table. I’ve been working a lot on my 3-point shot and the catch-and-shoot. I’ve always been able to shoot off the dribble and get to the rack. … Also, on the defensive end, bringing a lot of energy and intensity, and playing hard every day out there on the court.
Q: What was the hardest part of your redshirt year?
A: I would have to say the hardest part is working hard in practice every day and not getting to play in the games. That’s the main thing that was the hardest part of redshirting, because it’s always fun to look forward to the games every Friday or Wednesday, or whenever you play. I didn’t have that to look forward to. I always wanted to push my teammates every day so they can be better. Also me getting better, that’s what kept me going hard in practice.
Q: How did you use your redshirt season to improve?
A: Working hard in practice every day, pushing my teammates, having them push me, going hard every day to try and get better at everything. I tried to work on my catch-and-shoot shot, my defensive end, just playing hard.
Q: For those that haven’t seen you play, how would you describe your offensive game?
A: I would have to say I’m more of a slasher. I can get to the rack, I can get to my pull-up (shot), my one-dribble pull-up. I’m trying to work more on my 3-point shot so that can open up a lot more for me.
Q: What was the biggest surprise for you transitioning from high school ball to Division I basketball?
A: The speed of the game. It’s totally different from high school. You know, when you’re in high school, you’re a lot better than most of the players you play against. You’re a lot more athletic, but when you get to college, everybody was that guy on their team and so you have to use your brain a lot more to think because you can’t just rip by and blow by people.
Q: Perimeter defense seemed to be where the team struggled at times last season. Is that something you’re focused on improving individually?
A: Definitely, that’s something I’ve been working on when I was redshirting, and also in the offseason, trying to improve my defensive skills so I can bring that to the table and help us win.
— Vinny Benedetto, World-Herald Staff Writer