Hard work gets rewarded
Purdue's Johnson honored at NABC award ceremony
HOUSTON -- JaJuan Johnson had his name called a few times at the Cullen Theatre on Sunday night, one more sign that all of his success at Purdue this season did not go unnoticed.
|GUARDIAN OF THE GAME|
|Don Meyer won more than 900 games in his coaching career, including 221 at Northern State University, and he was one of the many honored at the NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show on Sunday night at the Cullen Theatre in downtown Houston.|
|• Complete story, click here.|
Johnson received the Spalding Pete Newell Big Man of the Year award and a senior achievement award at the NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show in downtown Houston.
The forward/center for the Boilermakers was also recognized as a first-team All-American. Johnson is the first player in Purdue history to win big man of the year honors.
“Those are huge honors,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of good players here tonight, guys like Nolan Smith and Jimmer Fredette, and to be in the same category as those guys is special.”
Johnson dominated the Big Ten this season, winning the conference’s player of the year award. He was also named the defensive player of the year in the Big Ten.
Johnson torched opponents to the tune of 20.7 points per game, becoming the first Purdue player to lead the league in scoring since Glenn Robinson in 1994. He also blocked 79 shots and came up with 30 steals as he helped the Boilermakers finish 26-8 and get a berth into the NCAA tournament.
Purdue had its season come to an end in a 94-76 loss to Virginia Commonwealth in the round of 32.
Johnson has come a long way during his career at Purdue after coming to West Lafayette as one of the top recruits in the nation.
As he looks back now on a career that seems to have zoomed by, Johnson said he is thankful he had an opportunity to become one of the top players in the nation.
“Man, it’s been a great four years,” Johnson said. “I have a lot of memories and have gotten a lot of awards and accolades. It shows that hard work pays off.”
But Johnson has done more than just become a star basketball player. He has become a good person as well.
“My maturity is the biggest improvement I’ve made during my career,” Johnson said. “I’ve grown a lot. I’ve worked hard and I am happy with what I have been able to accomplish, both as a player and a person.”