Welcome to the inaugural Junkyard Dog of the Week award, where 5-star bets recognizes the grittiest weekly performer in college basketball. What I love about college hoops is the passion and intensity so many guys play with at this level, and there are just some guys who no matter the moment, no matter the opponent, are going to outwork you every possession. The Junkyard Dog it tough, nasty, gritty, first to the floor and most importantly never going to back down from any person, moment, or opportunity. This award is not for the guy who scores the most points, or who makes SportsCenter’s top-10 highlight reel, it’s for the guy whose impact is felt via his passion, physicality, and willingness to lay it all on the line for a W. This week that man was Auburn’s KD Johnson. KD averaged 16 ppg in Auburn’s 3 games last week, but as I said that stat alone is irrelevant. What has him here was in part, his 14 steals in those 3 games, as well as his knack for relentlessly attacking the basket despite being undersized and taking on opposing teams big men with extreme physicality and a soft touch. Not only that, he consistently took the ball in key moments, rising to the occasion to hit huge buckets for Auburn. Take a look at this game tying bucket to send the UConn game to OT.
And if you needed even more evidence this dude is a dog, check out these clutch plays, but more importantly the passion and intensity he plays with.
So congratulations to KD on taking home the 1st of many Junkyard Dog OTW awards to come, and if for no other reason go find an Auburn game and watch this kid compete. Within 5 minutes you’ll be enamored by his relentless motor and fearless approach to the game of basketball. Every Coach wishes he could have 5 guys like this, most are lucky to have 1. Bruce Pearl and Auburn are lucky to have a guy like this leading such a talented group. Look out for Auburn and look out for next week’s winner.