Auburn basketball backup big sends strong message on replacing Jaylin Williams

Feb 17, 2024; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers forward Jaylin Williams (2) goes up against
Feb 17, 2024; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers forward Jaylin Williams (2) goes up against / John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn basketball big man Chaney Johnson isn't taking his injury replacement assignment lightly after Jaylin Williams' knee injury suffered against Kentucky on February 17 during a 70-59 loss at the Neville Arena.

He's also setting out to improve, regardless of Williams' injury status moving forward.

“I would say in total I’m just trying to lock in more,” Johnson said (h/t “I wouldn’t say I’m locking in more because of J-Will being hurt. Just coming off the Kentucky game, it kind of threw me off a little bit. Seeing him get hurt, now I’m expecting him to come in the game and make a big change. I really didn’t affect the game how I wanted to. Just trying to be better for this team, not just because J-Will is hurt. Just being better, period.”

Williams isn't expected to be out for long. In fact, he's even on the road with the team as AU makes the trip to Georgia for a February 24 clash in Athens.

Johnson's attitude is perfect. Get ready, stay ready, always be ready.

Chaney Johnson on role faith plays in his Auburn basketball career

Johnson got spiritual when speaking to's Matt Cohen about what motivates him and keeps him calm when things aren't going his way.

“My confidence has nowhere but to go up from where it was,” Johnson said. “It’s also just trusting in God because that’s where my relationships stand. I pray every day, you feel me? I don’t get too high, too low. I’m always just praying to him. And always being around the positivity going on in the locker room, and also having BP and people on the coaching staff always speaking positivity into me. So like I said, my confidence has nowhere to go but up from where it was.”

Bruce Pearl has aimed to unite his team through faith over the years, bringing his program to Israel in the summer of 2022 and later promoting a mass baptism event in 2023. Johnson has clearly bought in, though there's no reason to think the Alabaster native needed any prodding in that direction given the clarity in his response.