Maurice Dixon @WriturRece

Unlike many Division-I freshmen, Florida A&M point guard K’Ja Johnson spent much of his first season in Rattler green and orange on the basketball court.

The 6-2 facilitator started nine of 24 games during the 2015-16, while averaging 28 minutes, eight points, three assists, three rebounds and one steal.

For those who never witnessed Johnson dribble a ball on the basketball court, he described himself in this manner.

“I’m more of a pass-first, finish-second type of guy,” Johnson said. “I get my team involved. I’m true point guard not really worried about scoring but can score when I need to–an all-around team player.”

While preparing for his sophomore season, Johnson took a break from improving his skill set and helping others do the same at Jessie Davis Park in Douglasville, which is not far from where he used to run the show at Douglas County High, to go 1-on-1 with in a question and answer session about what has transpired, what is to come and other topics.

How do you sum up your freshman season?

My freshman year was terrific. I liked it. The campus was great. The people there were friendly and supportive. Basketball wise it was fantastic. We didn’t have the season we thought we would have but we bonded as a team. We bonded with our coaches and community. We did a lot of community service. My freshman year was pretty much a success. I got a lot of playing time. A lot of freshmen don’t do that around the country at D-I colleges. I was very proud of that accomplishment and I’m just ready for next season.

When did the college game slow down for you?

The game slowed down around the fourth game. I got comfortable with myself, my game, my teammates and my coaches. I started playing like I did in high school.

Who was the toughest opponent you played against?

UTEP point guard Dominic Artis. He was just incredible on the defensive end and offensive end, making plays for himself as well as his teammates. He challenged me and I respect him for that.

As far as Year No. 2, what are you hoping to do better as a sophomore?

I’m working on my jumpshot and finishing with my left hand. Also defending. Even though it was pretty decent last year, I’m trying to be a better defender. And maintain my grades and make sure they are above average.

What are coach Byron Samuels and his staff expecting from you?

My coaches said I got to have more of a killer mentality going to the basket, drawing fouls, going to the free throw line–that is something I’m trying work on this summer and have transition into next season.

What advice do you have for the next crop of freshmen about to continue their basketball careers in college?

My biggest piece of advice to incoming freshmen everywhere isn’t even about basketball but to be responsible for what you do. Transferring from high school to college, you do a lot of things on your own. Nobody is waking you up to go to class. You got to get to class on time. Education is a big part of your life.

Last season, FAMU lost both meetings, including the game at home at the buzzer, to rival Bethune-Cookman. How ready are you for the next chapter of that MEAC matchup?

I hated that they beat us twice. I first found out Bethune was our rival after the first Bethune game. I really didn’t know about the Bethune-FAM rivalry and now it just irks me. I just can’t want to play them next year.