Yes, you read that correctly. Old-head college basketball fans will be shaking their fists to the sky and screaming at the clouds over this. Louisville freshman guard Ty-Laur Johnson almost didn’t take the court for the Cardinals’ 73-68 win over Bellarmine because the team “didn’t have the tights that he wanted.”
This according to head coach Kenny Payne, who explained the full context of the situation afterwards:
The only other piece of information that could have any chance at casting Johnson in a better light here came from a Louisville native/deputy editor from the school’s official Sports Illustrated spin-off affiliate:
I’ll just say this regarding the Ty-Laur Johnson tights thing and then I’m hitting the hay.
If he wanted them because they were actually compression shorts that help with the groin injury he has, then yeah, I get not wanting to play.
Johnson wound up playing 19 minutes, scoring eight points and dishing out a team-high five assists to help the Cardinals rally from a five-point halftime deficit. So at least he stepped up and delivered when his number was called upon.
However. Need I say much more? This is baffling. If Johnson really does have a groin injury and it’s serious enough that he doesn’t feel comfortable playing, why not just roll with that?
I suppose it’s kind of hard to use that as an excuse considering he’s played in every game for the Cardinals this season. Just three days prior, Johnson logged 31 minutes in an overtime win against New Mexico State.
What compelled Johnson to demand some special kind of tights/compression shorts that, according to Payne, the Louisville staff has never carried in the first place? Where did this come from? I have so many questions. Payne clearly had it up to here with Johnson’s nonsense and wasn’t entertaining the idea that one of his players could use such a weak-sauce reason to not go out and play.
In doing a little elementary research on Johnson and watching his presser from before the Bellarmine game, nothing really seemed amiss and he seemed to be in good spirits. He did talk about the transition to NCAA basketball being an adjustment in terms of how much faster it is. Otherwise, not much doing.
I can imagine there’s a lot of pressure when you’re as young as Johnson is and you’re a Division I basketball player at a prestigious program like Louisville. On the other hand, it’s what you signed up for, young fella! You’re on scholarship! Hopefully you can dip into some of those funds or a small-time NIL deal and get those proper compression shorts on your own volition.
Maybe the Cardinals can help Johnson out and have them at the ready for the next game. Either way, seems like there’s a pretty easy solution to this mountain-out-of-a-molehill issue: Ty-Laur Johnson’s just gotta sack up and suit up, right tights, wrong tights, or no tights.