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Player Q&A: Xavier Johnson reacts to Indiana basketball’s close win against Army



Indiana Basketball
Xavier Johnson spoke to the media following Indiana's close victory against Army on Sunday night.

Indiana basketball player Xavier Johnson spoke to reporters following IU’s close win against Army on Sunday.

Johnson discussed where the struggles are coming from, the lack of ball movement and much more.

Below is the full video Q&A and transcript.

Q. Coach Woodson mentioned you all stunk in the first half. I am curious what you feel like might be causing that.

XAVIER JOHNSON: I’m going to be honest. In practice we have our young guys, including myself. I’m not young, but including me, Galloway, and just the whole team. We’re not going as hard. I think our preparation led to that, and that’s what I believe.

Q. Coach Woodson said some of the young guys need to play a little bit harder in order to see minutes in the second half. How have you tried to kind of get through to them or help them through that as a veteran, like you mentioned, to get them where they need to be showing that intensity and showing that fire?

XAVIER JOHNSON: I try to tell them to do the right things. You do the right things, play hard, and Coach will reward you.

I think a lot of guys go away from not playing as hard and just not want to play at all, but you have to play hard to play for Coach Woodson.

Q. Xavier, when you were in the half court, possessions went deep into the shot clock. It seemed like the ball was getting stuck a little bit, and when Army did miss shots, it was difficult to get in transition. How do you get that unstuck?

XAVIER JOHNSON: We just have to open up and play. Guys get standing with the ball, you know, we just stand and watch and wait until somebody makes a play, and that’s what we have to get away from.

Q. X, Coach Woodson said as a team the guards weren’t getting through ball screens as well as you guys did last year, and that’s contributing to some of the challenges guarding the perimeter right now. Just curious as to your assessment of what you are seeing in that regard?

XAVIER JOHNSON: When I watched film on the last game, we’re not getting over a lot of ball screens, you’re right. I think it takes a lot of heart, and that’s what Coach said to some of the young guys, you know, wanting to play, to get on the floor. I think we ran too many rotations, what-if rotations, and we have to stay out of those.

Q. Coach said the ball movement wasn’t where he wanted it to be. How as a point guard can you help change that and initiate the movement?

XAVIER JOHNSON: Getting guys in the right spots and giving them the confidence to play. Coach instills confidence in them just to play, but it’s kind of hard playing in front of thousands of fans and just executing.

Q. You’re the leader of this offense, but it seems like when you are out on the floor, especially tonight, you had a few frustrating turnovers. What is it, do you think, that is contributing to that being the norm so far?

XAVIER JOHNSON: I think that goes back to the preparation. Guys in practice, you know, we just go soft up for layups. And when we turn over the ball, we think it’s on the GAs that’s reffing our little games when we play each other. I think with need to get stronger with the ball, and turnovers is the issue right now for this one game honestly.

Q. Obviously it’s only two games into the season, but what’s the offense supposed to look like? Obviously it looks disjoint, listless, whatever, right now. What’s it supposed to look like?

XAVIER JOHNSON: Everybody touch the ball, move the ball. We have a whole bunch of talent. I know it’s hard to see right now, but we actually do have a lot of good talent. We need to share the ball, move the ball, get the ball up the floor and run because that’s what the offense is supposed to do. We’re supposed to get out and get stops, and I think that’s the main problem is we’re not getting enough stops to get out and run.

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Drew Rosenberg is staff writer for and hosts 'The Talkin' Bout the Hoosiers Podcast' covering Indiana University athletics. Drew graduated from Indiana University's Sports Media program in 2024.