Jalen Johnson, Louisiana’s leading scorer and rebounder in the 2019-20 season, has decided to take his talents to Starkville, Mississippi, as he has transferred to Mississippi State.
Johnson averaged 15.5 points per game during the 2019-20 season, which ranked him sixth among Sun Belt Conference scoring leaders. He also averaged 15.0 points during conference play.
The 6-foot-7, 205-pound Johnson entered the transfer portal last month and drew interest from several Power Five and mid-major programs. Before making his final decision in May, many stated that Johnson was down to Mississippi State and Georgia.
“This is what is best for me and my family,” Johnson said in a statement posted on Twitter that said he planned to transfer from the Ragin’ Cajuns. “I am excited to say that I am looking forward to what my future holds. I thank God for all the blessings.”
The Baton Rouge native spent his first two seasons at St. Louis before transferring to Louisiana for his junior campaign. As a freshman at St. Louis, Johnson started 18 of 33 games and averaged 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.
“We appreciate Jalen's contributions to our basketball team, both on and off the court, during the 2019-20 season. He spoke with me in the past couple of weeks about early entry into the NBA Draft and he has completed his paperwork. Jalen is on course to graduate this spring and we wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Head Coach Bob Marlin said in a statement on Johnson’s transfer.
The loss of Johnson will surely put additional pressure on senior Cedric Russell to produce more on the offensive end this upcoming season. Additionally, freshman stud Mylik Wilson will have to step up as a leader on this Cajuns squad.
This year’s 2019-20 team MVP was awarded to point guard Cedric Russell. In Russell’s junior year, he nearly doubled his points per game from 9 points his sophomore season to 14.7 points per game this year. More of the same will be expected this upcoming season with the loss of Jalen Johnson.
Russell knows what will be needed this upcoming season from a leadership standpoint.
“Me and the team, we talk a lot, and the guys look to me for a lot of leadership and stuff,” Russell said in a recent interview. “And they understand when it’s time for me to effort up.”
Mississippi State finished 20-11 overall this past season and posted an 11-7 record inside SEC play, which was good for a fourth-place tie in the SEC. Along with the losses in the frontcourt, guard Tyson Carter graduated and junior Nick Weatherspoon also has chosen to turn pro, electing to not return for his senior season.
The Cajun family wishes nothing but success for Jalen Johnson in his future endeavors as a Mississippi State Bulldog this upcoming season.