Senior center JaJuan Johnson scored the first 9 points of the game for the Boilermakers, taking Virginia Tech's big men inside and out, putting in several shots around the rim and sinking a kick-out 3-pointer before the Hokies had to call timeout. A subsequent Virginia Tech run cut down Purdue's lead and thus, the game became a defensive battle. But it was the lanky 6'10" big that finished just as strong as he started, knocking down the game-tying basket to send it into overtime and then hitting the go-ahead jumper in overtime to clinch the victory.
Johnson has clearly been more assertive this season as the Boilermakers not only rely on his interior presence on offense and defense, but to take up an even larger role with the injury of last season's second-leading scorer and rebounder, Robbie Hummel. His offensive game is coming along, but as a prospect, there's a lot to like about Johnson. He's very long, very athletic and has a nice bounce to his game as an explosive leaper, which makes him a very good shot blocker and above-average rebounder. He could, with his size and athleticism, be a better rebounder and we think that if Johnson is able to put on some strength and bulk, preventing him from getting outmuscled for low-post position, he could move his way into the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft in June.