The Will Johnston Story: Part 2

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For all parts of this series, click here.

Will Johnston
Will Johnston

First Basket, Quitting, and Coming Back

On December 22, 2011, Will Johnston scored the first basket of his freshman season in 71-50 win over Eastern Michigan.

“It was a deep three,” Johnston said. “I’ll never forget that. It was real deep, like near the hash mark. It was probably like 30 seconds left, we were up big, so Greenberg put me and Joey Racer in. I remember hitting that three, and hearing the announcer say “Will Johnston for three” in Cassell Coliseum…so crazy.”

As it turned out, that would be his only basket of the season. Seth Greenberg’s team played 16 regular season ACC games, and 12 of them were decided by five points or fewer. Both ACC tournament games – a 68-63 win over Clemson and a 60-56 loss to Duke – also went down to the wire. That’s not an environment that is conducive to a walk-on getting into many games.

Johnston ended up playing in four games that season. In fact, his appearance for less than a minute at the end of a loss to UVA cost him the chance to redshirt. Had he redshirted, he would be eligible to return for the 2015-16 season.

“I was so pumped at the time to play those two seconds,” Johnston said. “But those two seconds took a whole year away from me. It’s all right, I loved playing.”

At that point, Johnston thought he had