Arizona's Stanley Johnson shares light moment with coach Sean Miller after beating Cal
LAS VEGAS – With the way he can take over a game, it's sometimes hard to remember that Arizona's Stanley Johnson is just an 18-year-old true freshman.
In Thursday's 73-51 win against Cal in the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament quarterfinals, Johnson led his team with 19 points and drained some key three-pointers. Not bad for the first postseason game of his college career. Even though Wildcats fans might be ecstatic about Johnson's contributions to Arizona's program, there are still detractors out there that say Johnson has a lot to work on if he wants to succeed in the NBA.
Johnson isn't paying any attention to the naysayers, though. During his postgame press conference Thursday, a reporter asked Johnson if he's heard the doubts.
"One thing I learned really fast, at the end of the day it's all about what he thinks about what I'm playing like," Johnson said, pointing to his coach Sean Miller, who was sitting by his side.
"That's a great answer," Miller said as the room erupted in laughter. "That's one of the best I've ever heard."
Well, that's one way to stay on your coach's good side.
Jokes aside, though, Johnson sounds like a maturing young man who's ready for the next step. Listed at 6-foot-7, 245 pounds with great athleticism and season averages of 13.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, Johnson is poised to be a lottery pick in this year's NBA draft, if he declares as a one-and-done player.
"When you start worrying about things you can't control, things on the outside world," Johnson said, "that's when you start getting into things that you're not used to, you're not comfortable with. It's not a time to do things you're not comfortable with. So, I'm just staying consistent with what we do."