Johnson says he’s back for senior year

Robert Johnson made it official on Monday.

He’s coming back for his senior year.

Johnson, who declared for the NBA Draft last month to test his draft stock and gain feedback from league officials, will be Indiana’s leading returning scorer when he suits up for the Hoosiers this fall. After the draft defections of leading scorer James Blackmon Jr., along with OG Anunoby and Thomas Bryant, Johnson’s return means the Hoosiers will have a proven scorer in their backcourt for Archie Miller’s first season as IU coach.

“Year 4,” Johnson tweeted, “comin’ for it all.”

Johnson had until Wednesday to decide whether to continue with his professional aspirations or return to school. Johnson tweeted last week that he was not yet ready to announce his future plans after a report surfaced that he would return to IU.

Now he’s officially back.

Johnson has started 87 of the 98 games he’s played during the past three seasons, averaging 10.0 points per game for his career. He posted 12.8 points per game last season as a junior, a figure that might have been higher if not for a prolonged shooting slump that bogged Johnson during the second half of the regular season.

With Blackmon committed to beginning his professional career, the backcourt spotlight now belongs to Johnson, who is expected to receive the green light within IU’s offense.

With Johnson’s return, the Hoosiers are at the NCAA limit of 13 scholarships for the 2017-18 season.

He’s expected to be joined in the backcourt by Josh Newkirk, Devonte Green and Curtis Jones, as regular returning rotation players. IU will also welcome signee Al Durham to its backcourt later this summer.


    1. In my opinion, I think that NIT is a possibility, assuming Archie can get the team to play very strong defense. There are so few scoring options on this team other than Johnson that the best bet are low scoring games where IU can grind out wins. Obviously, depth in the paint is also a problem. Davis is foul prone and when he is out of the game, then what? Archie will need two years of his own recruiting classes to start seeing a significant difference. For this year, the hope is that Morgan, Hartman, Jones, Green, Johnson and Davis at least keep us competitive.

  1. Well, it took him awhile. However, he is the smartest one of the bunch (compared to those who went) except for first rounder.

  2. While losing Blackmon to the NBA (?) will hurt a little because of his shooting, Johnson is much more valuable to the Hoosiers because he plays both ends of the floor with intensity. His defensive play is exceptional and he is usually very adept at taking the ball to the basket as well as spotting up for a 3. Johnson only needs to better his ball handling skills to become a really exceptional player, he tends to turn the ball over more than he should. I would certainly think that coach Miller will have Johnson working on his ball handling. I would like to think that coach Miller’s approach in the ball handling aspect of the game will be a bit more effective than our previous coach when his answer to it was simply saying during the post game press conference , ” We have to cut down our turnovers!” But, that never seemed to happen? I believe the new coaching staff will improve upon this dramatically. Welcome back Robert.

  3. This is good for IU, but it’s hardly news. I don’t think anyone really expected Johnson to leave the program. From my perspective, Johnson now has the opportunity to make this team his team, show leadership like Yogi did two seasons ago. And I think being out from underneath the shadow cast by Yogi and Blackmon could allow him to have a breakout season. He’s got all the skills, but I always thought that he felt as if he was playing second fiddle to either YF or JBJ. I hope he has a great season and that it allows him to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA next year.

  4. Regardless of the realistic chances to make the draft, all of those who have departed from last season’s team will be missed. We will miss having the extra depth and athleticism on the inside. We will miss the added weapon from the perimeter.
    I do believe they all have better opportunities participating in basketball than the fired King of Carnival Hoops.

    Where the Hoosiers have suffered, and will likely continue to lag behind until Archie develops rosters by his own design, is in overall team speed/quickness.
    Part of that speed/quickness comes in the form of higher b-ball IQ’s that enable decision making and team play to match the athleticism brought to the table.

    We have witnessed a handful of high level basketball athletes with strong NBA potential. We have yet to witness high level basketball teams with strong March Madness potential. Those worlds never intersected under a coach who had a much lower teaching ceiling than his ‘diamonds in the rough’ had in their individual playing ceilings.

    Archie may be starting with less talent, but things of teaching will now begin to intersect with the collective classroom on the hardwood. There will be more understanding, team quickness, poise and chemistry. There will be basketball outside of the vacuum of merely admiring the individual parts. Hopefully, we’ll all get educated and realize basketball never “hinges” on one name……unless its complete dysfunction from a 10-year substitute on the sideline who hands out a ton of mimic, garble and lingo(culminating in cue cards)…but never teaches.

  5. Re: talent and athleticism: Like Lt Galloway in “A Few Good Men,” I strenuously object.

    Our core returning players are incredibly athletic. Colin Hartman coming back from ACL surgery is the only significant player who you’d not confused with a track and field olympian, but he more than makes up for it with what’s between his ears. Regardless. athleticism and talent wasn’t our problem, the issue was fundamentals. I used to think they had “poor fundamentals.” They don’t have poor fundamentals, they have NO fundamentals. When you play a team or go one-on-one with players and teams that have developed those fundamentals, you end up with a bunch of guys getting beat off the ball. It wasn’t just JBJ’s man who blew past him. We looked a step slow on defense last year because they had no fundamentals.

    I might be in the minority here on this one, but I think this team could be dangerous next year. The talent is there. The new guys coming in are a blank slate at the collegiate level. Archie has a long history of getting guys who are far less talented to do more than our much more talented guys did last year. His issue isn’t going to be having enough athleticism, it is going to be dealing with getting guys to buy in that they need to develop the fundamental aspects of the game that they haven’t been working on since arriving in Bloomington.

  6. Results over the last 4 yrs or so kind of reinforce you’re view of Crean, yet also so many comments were made of how detailed & intensive his practices were. Just unable to translate that energy/efficiency to game action?

    Maybe a breakout year for Morgan & Johnson?

    Indiana State and 50-some other schools are offering scholarships for ‘e-sports’, fancy name for computer games. $5000 a year for varsity. Kids will be able to compete in contests for money. $ won can be used to supplement the scholarship money only for education needs. If the kid wins more money than needed for educational use, the kid can claim the money after graduation.

    The world continues to get weird.

  7. Have you guys ever heard of ‘white coat hypertension?’ This occurs when your blood pressure readings at home are considerably lower than when at the doctor’s office.

    Whatever happened as “controlled and precise” during Crean’s practices simply didn’t translate to the more intense stages of big games excessively scrutinized.

    Whether it’s anxiety…or something even deeper in the wiring causing the inability to function normally under examination, Crean was unable to teach/adjust in the big moments like he, allegedly, could in those precise practice sessions.

    Let’s also keep in mind that team defense was generally pretty awful under Crean.
    Things that happen in practice(against a similar level of defense exhibited in games) could appear quite precise and efficient. But then there’s that Syracuse zone thing….when Olympic athletes impose length and ferocious help against our practiced precision that worked fine in the laboratory when Tim Priller was the opponent.

  8. Call me old school, but I think the fundamentals in college basketball have been on the decline since they introduced the shot clock. And relatively speaking, the fundamentals demonstrated by today’s NBA players are a joke! Since fundamentals are not really important in the NBA, it’s my theory that they’re not important to the players who aspire to play in the NBA. The kids to whom fundamentals are important are those that don’t have the athletic ability to play in the NBA. Those kids need sound fundamentals just to compete with their more athletically gifted peers in High School and college. No one really cares about holding these 5-star recruits feet to the fire if they don’t utilize the fundamentals they’ve been taught during the key stages of their developmental. If you have a highly athletic, future five-star kid in Junior High School, he’s not going to tolerate a coach that demands he spend hours working on fundamentals. He’d transfer to another team in a heartbeat so he can play the way he wants to play. And when these gifted boys get to High School, it’s all about athleticism and demonstrating their potential to college coaches and NBA scouts. And then, in college, it’s about getting drafted into the NBA. And fundamentals don’t play too big a roll in these young men getting drafted anymore, because to the NBA, its all about their potential.

  9. Watch top college teams. Watch a Stevens-coached team. You’ll see plenty of fundamentals and it ain’t old school. It’s taught. It’s valued. It’s reinforced. And it’s NEVER overlooked by any competent coach.
    Turning the ball over 15-20 times per game is not ‘new school’ in any league …or at any level.
    Watch a Calipari team. Their fundamentals are still exceptional. Defensive communication, sharing the ball, positioning, boxing out for boards, crisp passing, etc, etc. The best of the best value the fundamentals even with all the athleticism in the world. The best teams value all the things that rarely show up in the stat sheet.

    Excessive turnovers during the last 10 years was only a symptom of reckless lack of discipline and digression in many areas. There was nothing ‘in vogue’ when it came to Crean basketball. It was a deterioration from basic levels of discipline seen on a playground.

    16 turnover/game x 25 = 400/season.
    10 seasons x 400 = 4000 turnovers.

    There will never be another era of Hoosier Basketball with those sort of fundamentals again.

  10. Hartman is an exceptional athlete. I can guarantee he is far closer to an Olympian than anyone participating on this blog claiming to be a jock in another lifetime.

    We are talking Division 1 college basketball, folks. You don’t even sniff the bench as a walk-on unless you can prove you belong with the .01 % whoever to get to such a level. It’s silly to act like they got to this point by merely jumping high.

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