Jackson State Tigers put SWAC hopes on Johnson's shoulders
David Brandt, Jackson (MS) Clarion Ledger
It's the year of senior Trey Johnson, who will use his scoring prowess and all-around game to lead Jackson State in its quest for a Southwestern Athletic Conference title.
Johnson scored 23.5 points per game as a junior and is this season's SWAC preseason player of the year. But as a senior, Johnson said he's trying to become more than a scorer.
"It's my job to put points on the board - I realize that," Johnson said. "But I also want to be more of a playmaker and get my teammates involved. That's how I think we'll win games this season."
The 6-foot-5 shooting guard scored 36 points in Friday night's season opener against No. 11 Alabama. But the rest of the team scored just 29 points and the Tigers lost 96-65.
Johnson was 11-of-30 shooting from the field.
"This was not my best game," Johnson said in a statement released by the school. "It's not all about scoring. I could have done more."
Johnson should have plenty of scoring options around him, including senior Julius Young (9.1 points per game last season) and sophomore center Jeremy Caldwell (5.8).
JSU coach Tevester Anderson said the offense should run through Caldwell. At 6-foot-8, he's an active rebounder and the Tigers' best post-up option.
"Our goal is to get him as many touches as we can," Anderson said. "When we get him going that opens up the outside shooting for guys like Trey and Catraiva Givens."
The development of Givens will be of main concern this season. The 5-foot-8 point guard was handed the full-time starting job after Charlie White was kicked out of school last month because of weapons charges.
Givens averaged 3.8 points, but shot just 29.5 percent from the field while splitting time with White last season.
- David Brandt, Jackson (MS) Clarion Ledger
05-06: 15-17 overall, 10-8 SWAC
Coach: Tevester Anderson, 41-49 in 4 seasons at JSU
Projected starting lineup ('05-06 statistics)
Player, Pos, Yr, Ht, Wt, PPG, RPG
Catraiva Givens, G, Jr., 5-8, 165, 3.8, 1.8
Trey Johnson, G, Sr., 6-5, 215, 23.5, 4.8
Julius Young, F, Sr., 6-6, 185, 9.1, 3.6
Edwin Jarrow, F, Jr., 6-6, 175, 0.8, 0.9
Jeremy Caldwell, C, So., 6-8, 200, 5.2, 4.5
Jackson State has a true star in Trey Johnson, who will be good for around 25 points per night. The Tigers also bring back a decent amount of experience and height around him in Julius Young and Jeremy Caldwell. The bench is made up of mostly freshmen, but they give JSU plenty of athleticism, height and energy.
Jackson State's point guard situation is still under development after Charlie White's dismissal from school. Catraiva Givens is quick and runs the offense well, but he'll have to play more than 30 minutes per night since the team doesn't have many backup options. Coach Tevester Anderson said Trey Johnson can run the point if needed.
The continuing progress of sophomore center Jeremy Caldwell is crucial to Jackson State's SWAC title hopes. Caldwell is a true low-post threat who should score more than 5.2 points per game like he did last season. An intriguing backup is junior Stanley Turner, a 6-foot-11 transfer from Meridian Community College. At nearly 300 pounds, Turner brings strength and a soft touch, but lacks speed.
The freshman trio of Grant Maxey, Garrison Johnson and Kenny Russell gives Jackson State plenty of energy off the bench. Anderson is especially high on Maxey, who is 6-7 and one of the team's best leapers. Johnson, a 6-6 guard, brings height and ballhandling while Russell can play either guard position and could prove to be a valuable backup to Givens.