Johnson complementing Griffin well for Sooners

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

— What Oklahoma has done now hardly seems fair.

In addition to putting 6-foot-10 Blake Griffin on the floor, the most dominant player in the Big 12 this season, the Sooners have developed a guard who played so well last week he was named the conference player of the week.

Austin Johnson, a 6-3 senior, had 34 points as the sixth-ranked Sooners reeled off a 78-63 victory over Texas and beat Texas A&M, 69-63. Now 17-1 overall and 3-0 in the conference, the Sooners have tied the 1985-86 team for the school’s best start since 1927-28.

Always steady with the ball, Johnson leads the Big 12 with a 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio.

“He had a great week, he played with lots of confidence and lots of poise and he scored the ball,” said Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel. “All season long, he’s done a good job of his assists to turnovers. He’s been solid defensively all year long. What he did in the last two games was he scored the ball. If he’s doing that, that gives us a different dimension, gives us a different look. Hopefully, that’s something that will continue.”

Johnson has 44 assists with just 10 turnovers over the last 10 games.

A big fan of Johnson’s is coach Doc Sadler, whose Cornhuskers will travel to Norman, Okla. for an 8 p.m. tipoff against the Sooners tonight.

“He does so many things,” Sadler said. “He doesn’t turn the ball over. You can’t rattle him. He makes big shots. Him starting at Oklahoma for four years speaks for itself. You don’t continue to do that year in and year out without being pretty good.”

Griffin, meanwhile, keeps drawing comparisons to Kevin Durant, the Big 12’s All-American two years ago, and Michael Beasley, the Kansas State star who was last season’s player of the year. With seven games already this season with at least 20 points and 15 rebounds, he has tied Durant and Beasley for the Big 12’s single-season record.