With the availability of Michala and arrival of Malayna,
the Johnson sisters are poised to provide assistance in
head coach Bobbie Kelsey's rebuilding of the Badgers
BY MIKE LUCAS • UWBADGERS.COM
isconsin women's basketball
coach Bobbie Kelsey has gotten more than one message
from Michala Johnson that
has reflected the Connecticut
transfer's readiness after sitting out last season.
"She has tweeted at us a couple of times while
watching WNBA games,'' Kelsey said. "She can't
wait to get out on the court herself and compete in
a real game. She's hungry, as well.
"We have a lot of hungry folks and we're expecting them to channel that and help their teammates
out and make them understand how important it
is for everyone to be on the same page.''
The 6-foot-3 Johnson saw limited playing time
during her two seasons in the UConn program.
She appeared in 56 games and averaged five minutes and less than two points and two rebounds.
In a prepared statement on Johnson's intention
to transfer, Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma
said, "She came to us and expressed an interest in
being closer to home and I can respect that.''
Johnson is from Bellwood, Ill., 13 miles west of
Chicago. She played 19 games during her senior
year at Montini Catholic High School (in Lombard)
before going to the sideline with a knee injury.
She was averaging 17 points, 11 rebounds and
four blocks, and Montini was 18-1 before she was
hurt. During her freshman season at UConn, she
was still playing herself back into basketball shape.
"I have really enjoyed getting to know Michala
over the last two years,'' Auriemma said. "She's a
great kid who works really hard in the classroom
and on the court.''
In the short time that Johnson was around Auriemma, she said that she learned to be "consistent
with everything I do and to go hard and be aggressive with everything'' in practice or games.
"It was very hard,'' Johnson said of her decision
to leave Connecticut. "But I knew that it was something that I had to do for myself. It was like, 'What
was best for me?'''
Wisconsin was not only close to home, but Johnson also had some knowledge of Kelsey, who formerly coached at Stanford, one of the many schools
that recruited Johnson out of high school.
"Coach Bobbie is a great coach and she's trying
to bring the Stanford style of play to Wisconsin,''
said Johnson, 21, who sat out an obligatory year
because of NCAA transfer rules.