LSU star Flau'jae Johnson names Kim Mulkey in freestyle rap: 'Going to get more minutes'
BATON ROUGE – "Do you know what freestyle means?"
LSU women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey admits that freshman sensation Flau'jae Johnson has already taught her about plenty of things she didn't know.
Before Johnson arrived on campus in Baton Rouge, and before the freshman stepped up late and delivered in a tight game ballgame against Arkansas on Thursday, knocking down four pivotal free throws in the final 16 seconds to preserve the 79-76 victory for No. 3 LSU inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Johnson was already a signed rapper to Roc Nation.
It's a situation Mulkey, in her 25-plus year coaching career, has never experienced with a player. But the lessons have been fruitful.
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"Do y'all know what 'no cap' means?" Mulkey quipped after the win over Arkansas. "I didn't. She had to teach me."
Mulkey has lobbied Johnson for SEC and national freshman of the year, stating before that the winner of that award should be based on significant minutes and efficiency. Johnson averages 25 minutes per game and puts up 14.1 points and six rebounds a night.
Against Arkansas, the Savannah, Georgia, native had 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting and six rebounds to go along with the key free throws down the stretch.
"I didn't feel nervous. It was just like just do what you do. I be in the gym a lot so at that point, I'm going to let my team down," Johnson said. "I want to be in these situations at the end of tight games, so I got to score so coach will keep me in these types of situations."
"It really means a lot to me (that Mulkey outwardly supports Johnson for the top freshman honors) because I feel like Coach Mulkey really took a chance on me when nobody was willing to take a chance on me. I had offers but she really believed in what I wanted to do as far as with my music and playing basketball. I feel like she had that confidence in me because I'm in the gym a lot. I'm steadily perfecting my craft. She really be on me in practice. She tells me, when I'm not on you it's a problem. But I keep putting in the work and it means a lot to me. I'm going to keep my head down and keep working."
The truth is Johnson has already earned a place on the court in pressure situations for LSU before the team survived against Arkansas, because of the performances and the work she's already put in.
"A lot of folks would have loved to have had her. But what people didn't know is is she truly dedicated to basketball or truly dedicated to being a rapper?" Mulkey said. "How do you do both? Where do you find the time to do both?"
And as Mulkey has learned more about her dual entertainment star, the coach has also picked up some new lingo and now even has a mention in one of Johnson's freestyles.
"I'm like, 'What are you doing? Are you making up a song?' (Johnson says) 'It's not called that coach, it's freestyle,'" Mulkey said. "She has one now with my name in it, so she's going to get more minutes."
Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his Tigers and Cajuns coverage on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Got questions regarding LSU/UL athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at firstname.lastname@example.org.