Minnesota picked up a huge transfer commitment on Thursday when Brandon Johnson announced via his Twitter account that he will be spending his final collegiate season in Minneapolis.
Johnson took a leap in his third year at Western Michigan after sitting out his would-be junior season due to injury. He averaged 15 and 8 rebounds per game this season while increasing his field goals attempted per game to 11.8 from the 7.6 he averaged in his sophomore season.
Beyond the stats, the way that Johnson does his work will translate very smoothly to the Big Ten. I wrote about him last week as someone that Illinois should have targeted with Kofi Cockburn’s future up in the air. Johnson has the athleticism to play above the rim, the strength to fight through contact, and the skills to play a five-out offense if that’s what Richard Pitino decides to do.
As a Dayton alum, Johnson was the guy that I was hoping would become a Flyer and take over the Obi Toppin role. While Minnesota fans can’t expect Johnson to win the Wooden Award, a poor man’s Toppin is something that they can look forward to.
Depending on what Marcus Carr decides to do with his NBA future, these two could form a formidable duo next season. I anticipate breaking down Johnson’s game a little more this weekend so look for a piece on how he will fit into Minnesota’s rotation, including some film study.