Whatever It Takes to Win, Johnson Will Try to Get It Done for Illinois

By Logan, Bob | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 11, 1998 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Whatever It Takes to Win, Johnson Will Try to Get It Done for Illinois


Logan, Bob, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Bob Logan Daily Herald Sports Writer

CHAMPAIGN - He's a Grabowski.

Mike Ditka would have found someplace to play Brian Johnson, who personifies the blue-collar, hard-hat image Ditka built for the Bears. Most likely on special teams, where the whole idea is to give up your body, take the punishment, make the play and end up on the bottom of the pile.

Johnson does that for Illinois. The 6-foot-6, 208-pound senior from Des Plaines and Maine West High School revels in his role.

"Basketball is a game of emotion," Johnson said after helping the Illini to their sixth straight victory, a 50-47 overtime struggle at Wisconsin last Saturday. "I try to provide that by taking a charge, coming up with a steal or doing whatever I can to give us some momentum."

Johnson's whole approach, and maybe his whole college career, could be summed up by one of those "whatevers" at the Kohl Center. With the Badgers roaring from behind, Johnson goaded 6-10 Sean Dougherty into knocking him down to draw a crucial offensive foul.

When the thriller ended, Illinois fans went home talking about Kevin Turner's game-saving drive to force overtime or Jerry Hester's scoring and rebounding. That was fine with Johnson.

All he wanted to talk about was the sixth straight victory, keeping the Illini (17-7 overall, 9-2 Big Ten) in the thick of the conference race. It set up Thursday night's Assembly Hall bid to grab a share of the Big Ten lead by avenging an earlier loss to front-running Michigan State (17-4, 10-1).

"This will be a real war," Johnson said, his eyes lighting up in anticipation. "We've been doing what we wanted to do ever since we lost to them, so it's our chance to make a statement."

The main statement from the opponents Johnson guards usually starts with "Ouch!" followed by a few profane hints of retaliation. Chris Heinrich of St. Louis made good on his threat last Dec. 7 after he ran over Johnson and got called for an offensive foul.

"He told me, 'I'll get you for that,' and he did," Johnson recalled.

An "accidental" Heinrich elbow nailed Johnson, sending him staggering to the bench. It couldn't stop the senior any more than getting KO'd in a collision on the practice floor did, because when he gets knocked down, he always gets up.

"B.J. (Johnson) is comfortable doing whatever he can to help us win games," said Illinois coach Lon Kruger. "He doesn't need a lot of recognition from the media or the fans, because he gets it from the coaches and the other players.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Whatever It Takes to Win, Johnson Will Try to Get It Done for Illinois
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?