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2016-17 Buffalo Men’s Basketball Previews: Raheem Johnson

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-2nd Round-West Virginia vs Buffalo Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

One of the original members of the Nate Oats Pipeline, Raheem Johnson looks to add veteran leadership to this year’s loaded team.

The Basics

Number: 31

Year: R-Senior

Position: Center

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan

Height: 6-10, 235 lbs.

New to Buffalo?

Nope

UB Career

Johnson came to UB after a successful JUCO stint that saw him average 11.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks a game. The Detroit native had a crucial role in helping the Bulls win their first ever MAC title two years ago. Johnson came off of the bench when Justin Moss needed rest or when he was in heavy foul trouble. His defense in the post and shot blocking ability was the one of the best on the team. Last year would’ve been his last, but Raheem broke his foot and only participated in one game. As a result, the NCAA granted him a medical redshirt, allowing him to play this year.

Further Reading and Viewing:

Bull Run: Mid-American Conference grants Raheem Johnson medical hardship waiver

Part of the original #NateOatsPipeline, Johnson was a key bench player during UB's title run in 2014-15, averaging a handful of points and rebounds in 12 minutes a game. Johnson was also UB's best shot blocker, averaging 1.1 a night and leading the team on the season with 37.

Johnson's injury left a hole in UB's front court which, over time, was filled by other players. But the news he will be back next season means the Bulls are only losing two players this season and should have a strong front court next year.

Bull Run: Raheem Johnson's injury and its significance to the Buffalo Bulls basketball scholarship distribution

The fact that Raheem had enough of an impact for us to write an article like that speaks for a lot.

2016-17 Outlook

After returning so much of the front court, having Johnson back is huge for Buffalo. He’s known for his defensive game, but Nate Oats was praising the development of his offense before he was injured last season. Although he would’ve been a starter last year, I think UB opts for other options such as Ikenna Smart now. I would not mind having a rested Johnson provide a spark off of the bench.