Tuesday’s 8:30 a.m. practice is not Jackie Johnson’s first sweat of the day.
Before practice, the Duquesne freshman point guard is getting a lift in with the managers. Then, if anybody can assume what a Keith Dambrot-led practice is like, you can guess that it is not very easy. Stretching, a fast-paced, hour-and-a-half-long practice, and sprints. After that? Team lifting. Lastly, to end the day, an individual basketball workout for Johnson.
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That is four workouts a day, and that has become the norm for Johnson, a native of Wichita, Kansas.
The point guard is a workhorse in every sense of the word, and within five minutes of being in the gym, you can tell that he is going to make a difference on this Duquesne squad not only because of his mentality, but also his skill set.
With Johnson being only 18 years old, how much can he really provide for a Duquesne team competing in the tough Atlantic 10?
“Leadership, a winning mentality, scoring, and passing,” Johnson told Pittsburgh Sports Now after practice. “I feel like I can bring everything. I feel like I am a player that’s going to do anything to win.”
Looking at his frame, Johnson has a very strong base combined with a ripped upper body. At just 5-foot-11, he spent all practice being a pest while guarding bigger guards and wings and staying right with them. “WE HERE,” Johnson shouted throughout practice every time he guarded on-ball on defense.
Offensively, the 18-year-old is ultra quick, gets out in transition, and sets up his teammates on the break with shifty footwork and a high basketball IQ. His smooth lefty stroke is a huge plus, and he will certainly contribute from beyond the arc this season.
After bouncing around Wichita-area high schools in Kansas, Johnson opted to play a prep year at Hargrave Military Academy, one of the toughest prep-school programs around. There, he led his team to a 31-1 record while averaging over 27 points and six assists per game.
“It’s been good,” Johnson said about the transition from prep school to college ball. “I feel like going to Hargrave helped me in a way, so I think the transition has been good.”
2021 PG Jackie Johnson has had a dominant season at Hargrave. He put up 32 points & 6 assists with 7 3’s in their win today. Strong scorer who can hurt you from anywhere and has great burst. Can’t let him get to his left hand.@_jackiejohnson1 @HargravePGBB #RHMilitaryCircuit pic.twitter.com/6zvf4EBCrG
— Trent Markwith (@TMarkwith14) January 31, 2021
Johnson is coachable. Each time he made a mistake during practice, he listened to the staff to hear what he did wrong. The key for him this season will be adjusting to the speed of the college game and slowing everything down.
Once he gets comfortable, Dambrot thinks he has a chance to be great.
For more news and notes from Inside Duquesne practice, check out the link below.