East Lansing native steps up for the Wolverines

Brandon Johns Jr. is making a name for himself on Michigan’s basketball team.
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 5:06 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Brandon Johns Jr. was always bound for greatness. Each step in his career he keeps progressing, playing for the University of Michigan’s basketball team and now replacing star forward Isaiah Livers. The story of Johns Jr. and Livers goes back a few years and it’s ironic.

“His junior year, we lost in the regional finals to Isaiah Livers’ team, Kalamazoo Central,” Johns Jr.’s high school coach Steve Finamore said.

For the two of them to be on the same team now and for Johns Jr. to step in for Livers when Michigan needs it most, it’s been more than ideal.

“He’s the perfect guy for this role,” Finamore said. “I always thought he was a great sixth man coming off the bench, and now that he’s been plugged in as a starter, he’s done such an awesome job.”

When it was time for his moment, Johns Jr.’s always stayed true to himself, which goes back to his high school days at East Lansing.

“He’s always had a calm demeanor, on and off the court,” Finamore said. “He was never a guy who needed the attention where he had to do something spectacular.”

And now he is getting all of it. His first two years as a bench player has allowed him to sit back and watch how to handle it.

“It’s amazing. It’s not surprising. People are surprised, but I’m not,” Finamore said. “He scored last year 20 points against Rutgers. He always showed flashes.”

With 39 points in four games, filling in as a starter has been easy for him.

“If you watch him on the bench, Brandon’s always cheering for his teammates. Even freshman, sophomore year when he didn’t play that much,” said Finamore. “This year, his last four, five games he’s stayed ready. A lot of people... they don’t stay ready. Something happens in their head, something physically. But Brandon’s always stayed ready.”

Ready for number 23 to be called when his team needs him.

Finamore added, “He’s not trying to be Isaiah Livers. No one can be Isaiah Livers. What Brandon is, is Brandon Johns. So he comes out, fills the hole, fills the void that Michigan needs him to do. He scores, he blocks shots, and plays with a lot of energy, so that’s awesome to see.”

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.