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Xavier Johnson Press Conference

Source: Indiana University Athletics

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.–For Indiana Hoosier senior point guard Xavier Johnson, this season has been tough, but it’s not over. That was the message from Johnson when he spoke to reporters on Friday.

The Hoosiers (15-13 overall, 7-10 in the Big Ten) face the Maryland Terrapins (15-14, 7-11 in the Big Ten) on Sunday at 2 pm. Pregame coverage starts at 1 pm on 93.1 WIBC.  As you can probably tell by the standings, both teams need this game to finish with as high of a seed as possible for the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, which begins March 13 in Minneapolis.

“The job’s not finished. We have to get polished for the Big Ten tournament because that’s going to be our last shot before making the NCAA (tournament,” said Johnson.

In what was supposed to be his final year of college eligibility last season, Johnson broke his right foot. That forced him to miss the last 24 games of the 2022-23 campaign. Johnson was able to get a medical redshirt waiver to return for this season, but a left foot injury kept him out of all seven of Indiana’s games in December. Then he injured his elbow on January 30th. He missed the next six games, but then returned to play against Wisconsin Tuesday night. He scored five points, grabbed one rebound, and had an assist in 15 minutes during the team’s victory.

“I’m still actually healing, I’m in the process,” Johnson said. “There’s not much I can really do. I have to let my bone – well not my bone, but one of my ligaments heal on its own, and that’s all I can really do. It’s certain movements I can’t really do. As you see with my left hand, I can’t really bring the ball back up as much and I dribble most of my dribbles with my left hand, so it’s kind of been hard but it’s something that I want to push through because I want to finish my college career out the right way.”

He’s frustrated that the season hasn’t gone according to plan.

“I was a big key to this team to be successful, and I’ve been out for about two months of this season. That wasn’t the plan at all,” said Johnson.

Johnson said that his family has been a big help to him during this difficult time.

“It’s been very, very, very, very emotional. I cried a couple times at home because it’s my last year, and dealing what I’ve had to deal with for the past year, I don’t think nobody can deal with, honestly. It’s just been a mental attack on me because basketball is really my first love and it’s something that’s been taken away for the past year,” said Johnson.

Despite that, Johnson says he still has plenty of goals he wants to accomplish.

“I will be trying to go to the NBA after this season. That’s my end goal,” said Johnson.

The Hoosier seniors will be celebrated on Senior Day at Assembly Hall in Bloomington March 10 when Indiana faces Michigan State. Johnson says he knows that will be “an emotional day.”

“I’m not sure what I’ll say yet, but I know I’ll have a lot to say,” said Johnson.

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