Akienreh Johnson is looking to make a comeback this season. The sophomore guard hopes to complete her first full season with the Wolverines.
Johnson, in fact, may have the “feel good” story of the season and is a favorite among players and fans.
During her senior year of high school in Toledo, Ohio, Johnson tore her ACL. She had previously been named All-State in 2015, earning Ohio Division II Player of the Year in the process.
She earned a varsity letter during her freshman year at Michigan, appearing in 10 games. She averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. In January, however, she tore her ACL again and was out for the remainder of the season.
Johnson didn’t let the injury end her collegiate career, though. Instead, she stayed the entire summer to rehab and practice to get back into playing shape.
“Most of our kids stayed for one session. She did not leave, she did not go home. She did an incredible job just rehabbing and just spending time in the training room,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said on WTKA.
Johnson spent most of her summer with athletic trainer Melissa Pohorenc in order to get ready for the 2017-18 season. She was the only player on the team that chose to stay for all of the summer sessions — displaying her dedication to improving for the upcoming season.
Johnson made her first real impact in the game against Liberty on Nov. 12.
“To see her get a steal and score on a finger roll in the middle of the hoop as time ticked out to end the first half,” Barnes-Arico said, “I think just brought a great emotion to our team and to the fans, and she did a tremendous job for us in the second half as well.”
Johnson scored a total of four points in that game and played a season high of 15 minutes. Although she’s not putting up huge numbers this season, Johnson seems to be able to boost morale for the Wolverines.
“She provided a real spark for us off the bench the other night,” Barnes-Arico said, “and it was great to see.”
For her devotion to her recovery, Johnson has been rewarded with playing time in every game so far this year.
With most of the season still ahead of Michigan, all eyes will be on Johnson to see if her role increases on the team and how her season will ultimately turn out.