Jordan Johnson has always had the ability to be a rebounding leader for the Timber Creek boys basketball team, but this year’s whiteboard plans are putting him in even better position to clear the boards.
Johnson, a two-year starter for the Falcons, has been playing well but is on the upswing in terms of rebounds in the early season.
Before entering tournament play in San Antonio last week, Johnson was averaging 14.5 rebounds per game. Last year, he averaged about seven.
At 6-5, it’s easy to guess he might get his share of balls off the glass, but Johnson said this year’s offense and defense is setting him up for more success.
“I think our offense this year is putting me in better position to grab offensive rebounds,” Johnson said. “Where I am on defense, too, is really helping.”
Johnson admits that having a 6-9 teammate in Mikal Cooper has helped draw some attention away from him, allowing him better opportunities to get to the backboard.
But Johnson isn’t performing just by default.
In the offseason, Johnson spent time getting in select league workouts and into the school gym as often as possible.
What he’s been able to accomplish in rebounds – and blocked shots – has Johnson feeling confident.
“Not to toot my own horn, but I get a lot of blocked shots each game,” he said.
His ability to swat away attempts is predicated on his sense of timing and his positioning on the court. He noted he can easily play the bottom of the zone or the top, but playing down low is a prime spot for registering blocks.
His defense wasn’t the only part of the game Johnson was working on, though.
“Offensively, my main goal is to rebound, but I’m capable of scoring,” Johnson said. “I’m not too worried about scoring myself.”
He’d like to model his play after his jersey’s namesake, Kevin Durant, as both wear number 35. Johnson said he’s working to improve his offensive output, setting a goal of improving his scoring average by the season’s end.
All those contributions on top of another skill he’s acquired.
“He’s becoming a good leader as a senior,” said Timber Creek head coach Brad Mouser. “He’s playing hard as a senior and getting those 14.5 rebounds on average so far.”
Johnson said the leadership role may have his friends seeing a different side of him when on the court, but he said they understand why he’s working to keep them in line.
Collectively, the productive play is helping the Falcons prepare for the district schedule as they are taking on a more competitive schedule.
“Coach (Mouser) has given us totally different opponents this year,” Johnson said of the pre-district schedule, including the tournament trip to San Antonio this year. “I think we’ll be more ready with playing tougher teams early.”