Johnson's role will expand as season progresses

Though talented 6-9 freshman Brian Johnson isn't expected to be at full strength early this season, his role on the team is anticipated to expand as the season progresses.

Rick Pitino doesn't think 6-9 freshman Brian Johnson will be at full-strength until after Christmas.

A consensus Top 40 prospect last season while helping Oak Hill Academy to a 38-0 record, Johnson has off-season surgery to repair damaged cartilage in his right knee. And though Johnson has returned to the court, his practice time has been limited during the preseason while he fully recovers from surgery.

"We haven't been able to play Brian Johnson [in practice]," Pitino said. "He's only played about twenty percent of all of our practices. I don't he'll play full tilt until after Christmas."

Johnson saw action last Saturday in U of L's first public intra-squad scrimmage, registering 19 minutes for the White team. Johnson showed U of L fans what most high school basketball analysts already knew; he's a tremendous rebounder. In the scrimmage, Johnson pulled down 6 rebounds, to go along with 10 points on 4-8 shooting from the field.

Heading into the season-opening tournament in Hawaii later this Month, Pitino hopes to provide Johnson some important minutes, though limited, to prepare him for what is anticiapted to become a much larger role for the young forward as the season progresses.

"We'll try to get him maybe five or six minutes in Maui and try to get him acclimated to what we're trying to do," Pitino explained. "Once we get him healthy we'll be a much better basketball team because he gives us another wide-body."

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