Jamie Johnson — becoming a leader on the court

Jamie Johnson elevates his teammates to lead the Grenadiers to success


Tamar Kelly

Jamie Johnson slams a dunk against Asbury University. Below, Johnson brings the ball up the court against IU East.

Gavin Lagle, Staff Reporter

Jamie Johnson, senior shooting guard on the IU Southeast men’s basketball team, learned from the best to maximize the potential of his teammates and himself.

“I know we have a lot of new, young guys coming in … I just want to be the best leader that I can,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that he has had a basketball in his hands for nearly as long as he can remember, but he has come a long way from his days as a toddler shooting on the Fisher-Price goal his grandfather gave him.

Growing up in Louisville, Johnson honed his skills as a young player on his AAU team, the Louisville Legends. A close friend and teammate of Johnson’s on the Legends was D’Angelo Russell, now a shooting guard for the Brooklyn Nets. 

Johnson said his friendship with Russell is strong to this day. In the offseason, both athletes work on their game together. While Russell was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Johnson would spend time with him in Los Angeles training at the same facilities as many professional athletes.

Johnson gives credit to Russell for helping him become a better player and teammate and is looking forward to showcasing these qualities this upcoming season.

“I just want to not really focus on myself, but really focus on my team,” Johnson said.

Bouncing Back

Johnson has showcased his talent and leadership on the court up to this point in his basketball career as a Grenadier. Last season, Johnson led the Grenadiers in scoring at 19.9 points per game.

Johnson also earned NAIA All-American Second team honors last season, alongside teammate and seasoned Grenadier forward, Joe Jackson. The two All-Americans led the Grenadiers to a strong season which ended in the second round of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship Tournament presented by Cypress Risk Management with a loss to No. 1 seed Indiana Wesleyan.

With Jackson having graduated in May, all eyes will now be on Johnson to lead the Grenadiers on the court this season.

When asked about stepping up to fill the leadership role of Joe Jackson, Johnson said, “I know what I expect out of myself. I know what everybody expects out of me. Joe Jackson wasn’t really a big talker, but he led by example.”

As the season draws near, Johnson is looking to take all of the things he’s learned throughout his basketball career and put them together to have his best season yet.

Grenadiers men’s basketball will open their season Tuesday, Oct. 30, on the road against the University of the Cumberlands. The team’s home opener will be the Homecoming game on Saturday, Nov. 3, against Miami University-Middletown at 3 p.m.