UT Takes on UC-Davis, Still Without Johnson

It looks like freshmen forward Gary Johnson's role in Friday's upcoming game will be much like the one he played in Monday's season opener: observer. The Longhorns announced Thursday that Johnson's status has not changed and he will not be given the green light to help his team take on UC Davis in Austin.

Gary Johnson was informed this summer of a previously undiagnosed heart condition and his playing status has been uncertain ever since. Although he played 19 minutes off the bench in the Horns' exhibition game against Xavier, LA., the winds of change soon blew and he was forced to watch from the bench as his team beat UT-San Antonio 58-37 in its first regular-season game, played earlier in the week.

Johnson dropped 13 points, made six rebounds and two blocks to help his team take on Xavier (La.), but it sounds like he might have to become more familiar with a different position: number one fan, and nothing but. For now, any decisions about him playing in future games will have to be made at a later date.

Friday's game will kick off the Longhorns' participation in the StubHub Legends Classic. Starting the game off will be sophomore G/F Damion James, junior F/C Connor Atchley, sophomore G D.J. Augustin, sophomore G A.J. Abrams and sophomore G Justin Mason. Missing out will be Dogus Balbay, who is out indefinitely with a right knee injury and Matt Hill (left heel).

Sophomore center Dexter Pittman is expected to see some time again. He was sidelined during exhibition with a left foot injury but got about five minutes of action and two rebounds against UTSA.

"What he needs to do know is work towards his game," Coach Rick Barnes said Thursday. "Missing this part of the season is probably the hardest thing to overcome."

Now, Barnes said, it might be time for Pittman to polish other parts of his game.

"To be a good player, you need to be a good listener," said Barnes. "As hard as he has worked physically, he needs to start to see the game from a mental side."

With games Friday and Sunday, the Horns' endurance will be tested by two games in three days.

"I think these guys are at a point now where they are ready to see some outside competition," Barnes said. He went on to reiterate the importance of practice and preparation and expressed nothing but confidence in his players.

"In terms of physically handling that, we'll be okay there," said Barnes.

The Legends Classic is a brand new early-season tournament in which 11 teams from all over the country will compete to play in the championship game in New Jersey on November 24th. Other competing teams include Prairie View A&M, LeMoyne-Owen (Memphis) and host schools New Mexico State, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The Longhorns next take on Arkansas-Monticello in Austin on November 18th at 5:00 p.m.


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