Johnson Shows a Different Side of His Game in Portsmouth

By Published: 4/17/2017 6:27:06 PM Custom Tag

Courtesy: Akron Athletics

Akron, Ohio – Akron Zips senior men's basketball player Isaiah Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio) showed a different side of his game, demonstrating his ability to knock down the outside shot to professional scouts at the 65th Annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Portsmouth, Va. last weekend.

"It was a great experience to compete with and against players from different high-major and mid-major programs," Johnson said. "The tournament was stacked with great talent regardless of what collegiate level the players came from."

Johnson averaged 22.7 minutes per game, and finished the three-game showcase with 7.3 points, six rebounds, two assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

In addition, Johnson shot 42.1 percent from the floor (8-of-19), which included an 80 percent showing from beyond the 3-point arc (4-of-5). He also buried two of his three free throw attempts for a 66.7 percent effort.

"The first game I wasn't really that comfortable," Johnson said. "But, by the second and third games, I was familiar with the coaches and players, which helped me find my stride and finish on a good note."

In the opening game of the PIT, Johnson attempted only four field goals and came up empty. He did add three rebounds, one assist, and a steal in 20 minutes of work as his squad, the Cherry Bekaert, fell 88-57 to the Portsmouth Partnership.

In the second game, Johnson saw 22 minutes of action and poured-in 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor. His 71.4 shooting percentage included a perfect 3-of-3 performance from downtown. Yes, Big Dog flawlessly knocked down three triples while adding a 2-of-3 effort from the free throw line, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals. However, the Cherry Bekaert fell 102-84 to the Portsmouth Sports Club.

"I worked extremely hard over the last four years on my shooting, and always known I had the ability to shoot," Johnson said. "I just never really had opportunity and never really needed to show how I shoot the ball at Akron. I guess my teammates and coaches (at Akron) saw it at practice, but I was able to use this opportunity to show that I can shoot the ball."

Johnson followed with a seven-point final game performance on 3-of-8 shooting from the floor. In 26 minutes, Johnson went 1-of-2 from deep with seven rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
In the final two games, Johnson averaged 24 minutes played with 11 points per game. He shot 53.3 percent from the floor (8-of-15), including an 80 percent showing from long range (4-of-5) and 66.7 effort from the free throw line (2-of-3). Johnson grabbed 15 of his 18 total rebounds in the final two contests and dished out five assists with three steals.

For the tournament, Johnson totaled 22 points and pulled down18 rebounds, 12 defensive and six offensive boards. He dished out six assists and secured four steals.

"For now, I will continue training, and hope with some of the contacts I made will allow me to play on a summer league team," Johnson said. "So, I guess I will have to wait and see what happens."

About the Portsmouth Invitational

Dating back to 1953, the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament invites 64 of the nation's best senior college basketball players to participate in the four-day, twelve game event. The tournament draws representatives from every NBA organization, including scouts and general managers. In addition, several international leagues are in attendance to evaluate the talent pool.

In the 1970's, the event began to attract national attention, showcasing players like Rick Barry, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, Dave Cowens, John Lucas, and Bobby Cremins. The tradition continued with players like John Stockton, Dennis Rodman, Tim Hardaway, and Scottie Pippen, just to name a few of the many professional players to play in the event – Barry, Monroe, Cowens, Stockton, and Pippen are five of the NBA's 50 greatest players.

Johnson was Akron's third player to receive an invitation to the Portsmouth showcase, joining Romeo Travis (2007) and Zeke Marshall (2013).
Published: 4/17/2017 6:27:06 PM Custom Tag