The Washington Post

Indiana basketball gets Washington area boost from assistant Kenny Johnson

Scenes like this likely wouldn’t have been possible for Indiana without assistant Kenny Johnson (Getty Images).

While the Indiana Hoosiers added a few new pieces from last year’s team, Kenny Johnson hasn’t exactly received the same level of attention as freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell.

But coaches and players credit the team’s newest assistant coach with much of the team’s success this year.

Johnson’s name is a familiar one in Washington area basketball circles: the Oxon Hill native and University of Maryland graduate was an executive and coach with the AAU’s Team Takeover for six years and worked with many of the top prospects to come out of the district in recent years. Last May, Indiana Coach Tom Crean added Johnson to his staff as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Johnson had worked with Hoosier players Victor Oladipo and Maurice Creek, but Crean explained recently that Johnson brings more to the program than his contacts and recruitment abilities.

“I was fortunate when I got a start that no one ever pigeonholed me into a position. When you coach, you coach, you recruit, you administrate, you teach, you scout, you do it all. That’s exactly what Kenny Johnson has come here and done,” Crean said. “He’s gotten a lot of notoriety for the recruiting he’s done in a short time, and rightfully so. But he’s a basketball coach. When he leaves us, it won’t be for anything in front of his title other than head coach. He’s going to be that good.”

Indiana’s 2013 class is ranked in the top 5 by most scouting services, highlighted by Noah Vonleh, a 6-foot-9 forward from New Hampton (N.H.) Prep who’s largely considered one of the 10 best players in his class.

Johnson has also hold locked down Troy Williams, a 6-6 forward from Oak Hill Academy, and Stanford Robinson, a 6-4 shooting guard who began his high school career at Paul VI Catholic before transferring to Nevada’s Findlay Prep for his senior year.

While certainly most of the praise to this point, though, has centered on recruiting, Hoosiers players and Indiana’s coaches credited Johnson with helping game-plan the team’s NCAA tournament opening-round win over James Madison last week.

“He was very, very forceful and demonstrative in this scout, which showed his maturing as a coach,” Crean said. “He knew this team because of being in the league, and he did a phenomenal job of getting it across. He had the details down, but he made sure — we all made sure — that our players understood, okay, this is what they want. This is how they want to get it, and he did a phenomenal job with it.”


Victor Oladipo: Separating myth from fact.

Oladipo rising up NBA draft board.

– VIDEO: FGCU’s “Dunk City”.

– VIDEO: “Post Sports Live” makes Sweet 16 picks.

The Post’s interactive NCAA tournament bracket.

Still time to play The Post’s bracket challenge.

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
In defense of dads
Play Videos
How to make head cheese
Perks of private flying
The rise and fall of baseball cards
Play Videos
Husband finds love, loss in baseball
New hurdles for a Maryland tradition
How to survive a shark attack
Play Videos
Portland's most important meal of the day
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to save and spend money at college
Next Story
Cindy Boren · March 27, 2013