In The Paint

Nicholls State University junior basketball player Loan-Anh Johnson has found a unique way to occupy her free time when she is away from the basketball court.

Johnson, a native of Wichita, Kansas, has developed a strong love for painting.
Though Johnson describes her art as a hobby, she is passionate about her work.

“It really started because I was trying to get some separation from my game mode,” Johnson says. “I’ve just gotten better and better as a painter.”

Johnson says she had more free time to paint during the COVID-19 pandemic this year, which shut down college athletics and kept student-athletes away from campuses for several months. During quarantine alone she completed 11 art projects.

“Painting is something I did often with my time,” Johnson says. “That was the only thing I could do in my free time as far as being alone. It was either that or watch TV.”
Most of Johnson’s artwork focuses on a popular style known as anime, which is a type of Japanese animation art that is seen mostly in cartoons.

“I like a lot of the different culture designs that come with anime,” she says. “Everything just looks so pretty to me.”

Her artwork has caught the attention of her family, friends and teammates.

“They love it a lot,” Johnson says. “It’s nice to have their support. I enjoy putting a lot of work into it.”

Johnson says she tries to paint often during the offseason. Once the season starts, her focus is on playing basketball for Nicholls.

“When it is time for the season, I can’t really paint because it is so time-consuming,” she says.

“I like a lot of the different culture designs that come with anime,” she says. “Everything just looks so pretty to me.”
– Loan-Anh Johnson

Johnson has emerged as one of the key leaders for the Nicholls women’s basketball team.

As a sophomore, Johnson finished third on the team in scoring at 10.9 points per game. She reached double figures in 15 games, including four 20-point outings. She had the fifth-best field goal percentage in the league at 48.2 percent and also ranked 17th at the free throw line at 74.2 percent.

Johnson also shined in the classroom. She was one of 10 women’s basketball players named to the 2019-20 Southland Women’s Basketball All-Academic Teams in April. Johnson landed on the All-Academic second team after posting a 3.71 grade-point average as a health sciences pre-professional major.

She says she was proud of her play as a sophomore but she wants to continue improving.

“I put in a lot of work,” Johnson says. “I was just happy that I was able to help my team.”

Unfortunately for Johnson, her sophomore year of basketball ended prematurely when the Southland Conference canceled the women’s basketball tournament because of the COVID-19 outbreak in March.
The pandemic forced the Colonels to end their season with a 13-16 record. They were on a seven-game winning streak to close out the regular season.

Johnson says it was disappointing to hear about the season being called off, especially when it came time to say goodbye to members of the senior class.

“It was really devastating to us as a team,” Johnson says. “We worked so hard to get there in the first place. It was heartbreaking.”

Johnson says the Colonels want to continue building something special during the upcoming season.

“We have a lot of new faces this year,” she says. “We want to continue to grow.”

— Chris Singleton (BA ’06)