ANGOLA, IND. -- The 2016-2017 Thunder Men's Basketball team lead the MIAA and ranked fifth nationally in three-point shooting percentage nailing a staggering 41.4% from long range. One of the major contributors to that statistic last season was returning sophomore guard Langston Johnson who buried 43.8% of his three point attempts during his freshman campaign.
Although Johnson's three point shooting percentage was a pleasant surprise for Trine Head Coach Brooks Miller, it was his development at the defensive end of the floor that earned him additional playing time and the trust of the coaching staff as the season progressed.
When discussing Langston's growth throughout his freshman year Coach Miller said, "I felt Langston made a concentrated effort on improving his defensive toughness in practice which allowed him to be much more relaxed at the offensive end. Langston is also a very unselfish player and a great teammate. It didn't take him long to realize that his toughness and unselfishness would be the determining factors for playing time that would allow him to standout from some of the other underclassman."
Another key contributor to Langston's improvement during his freshman year was Trine Assistant Coach Drew Lehman. Coach Lehman was an All-American guard at Ferris State University who earned his opportunities by having a reputation as a hard-nosed competitor at both ends of the floor. It was not uncommon to walk into Hershey Hall last season before or after practice and find the two of them working out together.
"Langston's ability to fight through adversity and continuously look for additional ways to make himself better have been keys to his development thus far," Coach Lehman stated.
"He has a focused attitude and a great opportunity to become a major contributor for the next three years! " Coach Miller added, " Coach Lehman has a lot to offer our young men when it comes to the process of how to make yourself a better player and a great teammate. Langston has done a terrific job of utilizing Coach Lehman as a resource and watching their relationship continue to grow is quite rewarding."
The expectation level of overall performance will be much higher for Johnson as a sophomore compared to when he was a freshman. With five transfers and five freshman expected to be added to the Trine varsity roster this season, Johnson realizes that he may have to take on more of a leadership role going into his second year with the program.
When asked about his preparation and thoughts regarding the 2017-18' team Johnson proclaims, "I feel like I can be a leader on this team. With that being said, I will have to continue to work hard and get better to earn the respect of my teammates."
Johnson and the Thunder will begin official practice on October 15th with their first exhibition contest scheduled for November 4th against The University of Toledo Rockets at Savage Hall in Toledo, Ohio