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WVU’s Kobe Johnson Ready to Take Place of Kriisa at PG



Kobe Johnson
Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

WVU G Kobe Johnson is entering this third season with the Mountaineers and now will be needed more than ever with short notice. Johnson will control the starting point guard duties while Kerr Kriisa serves his nine-game suspension during non-conference play.

“When I found out the news, it hurt. But I have to take that on, next man up, prepare these guys and lead them,” Johnson said.

Johnson is one of four returning players for West Virginia after experiencing quite the offseason. Johnson had the opportunity to transfer after Bob Huggins resigned in June, but decided to remain a Mountaineer.

“Seth [Wilson] and I are great friends, we had talks [about exploring options]. I really love it here. I feel like this city deserves a lot. I feel like us staying here is what the city needed.”

Johnson will now join his close friend Seth Wilson in the backcourt. The pair of Ohio natives are the longest-tenured Mountaineers out of the current roster. Johnson has waited his turn playing behind Taz Sherman, Sean McNeil, Kedrian Johnson, Erik Stevenson and others throughout the years. Now, with Kriisa’s suspension, Johnson has the opportunity to showcase his impact for long periods of time within the game.

“When I first came in, [I] wasn’t too much experienced. Really just learned from the past guys. I had a big summer, kept working on my jump shot and my game. I feel like I’m an experienced player and ready to go,” Johnson said.

Johnson has appeared in 61 games for the Mountaineers over the span of two seasons. The Canton, Ohio native averaged 2.0 points in 10.3 minutes last year. With a nagging injury throughout the season, Johnson worked on his shot form as well as being able to read the floor.

Now for Kriisa, the Arizona transfer will help guide Johnson as he serves his suspension through mid-December. Johnson says Kriisa has been lifting up the rest of the group as that’s all he can do.

“[Kerr is] just trying to keep a good mindset, keep those guys up. Just trying to be a great teammate,” Johnson said.

West Virginia and Johnson will host Missouri State on Monday night to begin the regular season. WVU only has eight available scholarship players currently as Kriisa serves his suspension, Akok Akok is ruled out due to his health and RaeQuan Battle awaits his waiver appeal decision.

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