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Film Study: Minnesota’s Brandon Johnson

A look at what the Western Michigan transfer brings to the Gophers

NCAA Basketball: Charleston Classic-Western Michigan vs Texas El-Paso Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been very forthright about how much I like Brandon Johnson’s game. I think he’s the perfect big in today’s game with the power to get where he wants as well as the skill to finish. This article will take a look at exactly the attributes that Johnson brings to the table that will help them transition into a new era without Daniel Oturu.

These two clips show really nice footwork by Johnson in order to get the shot he wants. There are some really encouraging things that take place here. He takes his time by sizing up the defender, figuring out what he wants to do and then executing. Johnson looks very comfortable with the ball in his hands in these situations.

This is kind of the the countermove to the two prior clips as Johnson is able to draw the foul and finish over the defender. He shows nice touch going over his left shoulder despite a lot of contact down low. All of these low-post moves will transition nicely into the Big Ten regardless of an increase in talent from the MAC.

The above visual shows how comfortable Johnson is with his jumpshot despite doing a lot of his work down low. His catch and release look really smooth. This is further proven by him shooting nearly 74% from the free throw line this past season. Coaches look at free throw shooting as a good indicator of a player’s true shooting ability.

The clip shows Johnson hitting the first shot with a hand in his face. Just a few possessions later, he’s able to catch at almost the same spot on the other end of the court and draw a foul on the defender’s contest. If he can continue to remain a threat from the high post, he’ll force opposing coaches to run man-to-man defenses, opening things up for Marcus Carr.

This clip is another example of how strong Johnson is, allowing him to finish through contact in the paint despite being somewhat undersized at 6’8”. He’s also a very reliable rebounder on both ends. He averaged 8.1 rebounds per game which placed him eighth in the MAC this year. Of those 8.1 rebounds per game, 1.9 came on the offensive end. Watching Johnson’s tape, he was able to convert a large number of those offensive rebounds into easy layups and dunks. These easy baskets will be a welcome addition for the Gophers.

These last three clips are simply examples of how explosive Johnson really is. He has the athleticism to hang with every big in the conference. He also has a lot of experience playing as the 4 alongside another big. This will help him transition to Minnesota’s roster as he will most likely be on the court with fellow transfer, Liam Robbins, from Drake.

Overall, Brandon Johnson is someone that Big Ten fans should be excited to watch as he’s an explosive athlete that is just waiting to put someone on a poster. But it’s his ability to score in the half court using good footwork and nice touch around the rim that solidifies his game.