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Big East Player Profile: Marquette's Jajuan Johnson

Jajuan Johnson's first two seasons at Marquette were nothing to special as he yo-yo'd at times with his development and minutes for the team. Still though, the 6'5" guard is trending upward and will be looking for a breakout year in his junior season.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

In his first two seasons, Marquette's Jajuan Johnson played for Buzz Williams at the tail end of his time with the program, and Steve Wojciechowski in what is just the start of his time with Marquette.  He has seen his game slowly improve over the span of his two years with flashes of brilliance, but heading into this season, the 6-foot 5-inch guard will be part of the veteran core of a young team. He also may finally have his chance to fully unleash his game.

In the first two seasons of his collegiate career, Johnson has primarily come off the bench with spot starts sprinkled in. However, in the case of his freshman season, Johnson was riding the bench more so than being in the game.  In Marquette's final nine games of the 2013-14 season, Johnson only saw a grand total of five minutes of playing time, and, taking the scope back a little further, he was a DNP-Coaches Decision in nine of the last fifteen contests. He did, however, get one start in a conference game that season coming against Providence in what was one of Marquette's best performances from the 2013-14 campaign.

In all for his freshman season, Johnson finished with a stat line of 4.3 points per game, 1.1 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game in the only season he played under Buzz Williams, but with a coaching change, Johnson's fortunes began to turn.

In his first season under Wojo, Johnson yo-yo'd back and forth from the bench this time in a bit more expanded role compared to where he was in his first season.  He was unable to truly break into the starting lineup for the Golden Eagles partially due to the fact that graduate transfer Matt Carlino held down the starting spot.  To say the least, Johnson's sophomore season did not go as planned, as he struggled for most of the season including a mid-season shooting slump which featured a dismal 3-for-13 performance against Providence and a night against Georgetown where he went 2-for-7. These struggles saw Johnson's minutes decrease to the point where he was benched against Xavier, which was the lowest point for Johnson in the season and his wake up call.

Following his benching against Xavier, Johnson slowly began to put the pieces of the rest of his season together, including taking less three pointers and instead driving in for the basket. Johnson's stat line for the season finished at 7.3 points per game, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists, improvement across the board from his freshman year.

Coming into his junior year, Johnson still has a lot to work on. But he is definitely trending upward compared to where he was entering last season.  The good news for Johnson is that he is now a part of a young Marquette side that is more talented than the past two seasons.