Penn State Basketball 2014 Player Report Cards - John Johnson

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State's season has been over for a few weeks, so now it's time to hand out final grades for the 2013-14 season. Next up may be Penn State's hardest player to grade.

It's hard to look at John Johnson's season and not get incredibly riled up. You either loved the fact that was a fearless scorer who was dynamic when he was on his game and -- despite being a transfer who didn't play half the season -- was a vocal leader, or you hated that he was a one-dimensional black hole at times and disappeared frequently.

If we're looking just at what Johnson was supposed to be, the bench guy who comes in and provides instant offense when Tim Frazier and/or D.J. Newbill hits the bench, he did his job. It was often sandwiched between two or three games where he did nothing, but he still did it. I don't know. He's a weird player to judge, and to watch.

The Numbers


Min% ORTG POSS% PPG 2P% 3P% RPG ARate TORate FTRate
Season 31.2 89.4 19.3 6.7 43.5 31.8 1.7 5.9 18.9 16.3
Conference-Only s a m e s a m e sa me


There's no knowing what Johnson would have done if he had the non-conference slate to pad his stats. Johnson is the kind of guy that the advanced metrics crowd LOATHES. LOATHES, I TELL YA. Among guys that got solid run for PSU, Flipp had the worst TORate, and the second worst ORTG, ARate, FTRate, and 2P%. While he was fourth on the team in 3P%, it still wasn't great, and he didn't always look comfortable taking threes (more on that in a sec).

The Good

When Johnson got hot, good Lord. He was magic. Just look at his first game against Mount St. Mary's: 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting in 22 minutes, and if he doesn't do that, Penn State probably doesn't win. He is completely fearless, and was a really good vocal leader whenever something awesome would happen. While he didn't do it nearly enough, Flipp could take anyone off the bounce, and when he did, it would give him the confidence to knock down shots from downtown. He also seems like he's awesome at shit talk. I have nothing to back this claim up, but he just seems good at it, and I respect/love that.

The Bad

Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. Nobody on Penn State was more of a "one step forward, two steps back" guy than Johnson. He wasn't much of a passer or rebounder, and he struggled handling the ball, too. He was a scorer first, second, and third, but he struggled as a scorer sometimes. My single least favorite thing about him was that he would get the ball wide open on the wing, and instead of shooting it in rhythm, he's pull it into a three point stance, stare his opponent in the face, and take a contested three. GUUUUUUUUUUUUH.

Best Performance

vs. Mount St. Mary's - 20 points in 22 minutes, 8-for-11 shooting, 2-for-2 from three, 2-for-2 from the stripe

Sure, he didn't record an assist or pull in a rebound, but this was Johnson's first game for Penn State. He came in and made an immediate impact, and unfortunately, he set the bar a bit too high. If he played like this for the rest of the season, Penn State is an NIT team. Oh well. It was still awesome to watch.

Next Season

Johnson may start the season at guard with Newbill, or he will be the team's sixth man in a role similar to the one he has now. You can argue that nobody was helped more by Graham Woodward transferring than Johnson, as he will likely get whatever minutes Woodward was going to get as a 2nd/3rd guard. Hopefully now that he has some game experience, Johnson will be able to take care of some of his consistency issues and become the lightning-in-a-bottle scorer we all expected him to be.

Final Grade: C

I'm splitting the difference between "Good Flipp" and "Bad Flipp." If you want to argue he wants a higher grade or a lower grade, that's completely fair. He needs some seasoning as a scorer, but has the potential to be devastating. He really, really, REALLY needs to improve as a ball handler and a passer, and needs to become a more efficient player. I'm looking forward to a full year of him. It's either going to be really, really fun or really, really not fun.

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