A hallmark of John Thompson III’s time at Georgetown has been his usage and, as a result, production of his freshmen players. In JT3’s 12 seasons, 10 freshmen have appeared in either the Major (used in 24-28% of total possessions) or Significant (used in 20-24% of possessions) Contributor section of KenPom. Last season was no different, as Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson both found themselves getting heavy rotation for the Hoyas.
The third member of the Georgetown freshman class, Kaleb Johnson, did not. Johnson found himself in the “Limited Roles” section, used in just 14% of possessions, second-lowest of all scholarship players ahead of just Trey Mourning.
So, what was the issue? Did JT3 not trust the four-star recruit? Was there a rough adjustment to the college game for Johnson? Maybe this was all part of the plan. Here’s what our Sean Saint Jacques wrote last July about Johnson:
Down the road, the Hoyas could have found a solid player that will play his heart out for four years in the nation’s capital. Coach John Thompson III may have a diamond in the rough with this recruit.
However, because of the depth at guard and small forward, do not expect Johnson to play big minutes as a freshman. Off the bench, we could see the forward provide some rebounding and scoring punch.
That scoring punch was on display early in the year for the Hoyas. In the finals of the 2K Classic where Georgetown fell to Duke, Johnson tied for second-most points on the team with 14, in addition to grabbing four rebounds.
From there, Johnson struggled to crack the rotation again, totaling just 50 minutes in his next six games. In Georgetown’s December 19 loss to UNC-Asheville, though, Johnson played 20 minutes and lead the team with 16 points. While the Hoyas struggled through the back half of nonconference play, it looked like they might have had an inconsistent secret weapon on the bench in Johnson going into Big East play.
Then, everything turned again. Johnson played very sparingly and didn’t score more than five points in any of his final 21 games after the showing against UNC-Asheville. By the time the season wrapped up, Johnson had found himself buried in the rotation. He finished the year averaging 2.8 points per game.
So, what’s the biggest key for Johnson this season? Consistency. Consistency in his playing time and consistency in his production, they go hand in hand. The opportunities to prove himself will be present, as Johnson is one of just four players (Rodney Pryor, Jagan Mosely, LJ Peak) listed as a shooting guard or small forward on Georgetown’s roster. At 6’6, he has the ability to play either position.