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HomeSportsLouisville freshman barely plays in first half due to not having ‘tights...

Louisville freshman barely plays in first half due to not having ‘tights that he wanted,’ coach says

Louisville head coach Kenny Payne played freshman point guard Ty-Laur Johnson for just under three minutes during the first half of Wednesday’s game against Bellarmine. 

Johnson finished the night with eight points, five assists and two rebounds, as the Cardinals rallied for a 73-68 win. 

When asked why Johnson played so little in the first half, Payne provided reporters with a bizarre reason. 

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“You ready for this? I probably shouldn’t tell you this,” Payne said. “We didn’t have the tights that he wanted, so he didn’t know if he wanted to play. 

“Oh ya. You heard it. We didn’t have the tights that he wanted, that we’ve never had for him, and he decided, ‘I don’t feel like I can go.’ That’s what young people do.” 

Through seven games of the 2023-24 season, Johnson leads Louisville with 3.7 assists per game while averaging 8.9 points in 21 minutes. 

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“But he figured it out in the second half,” Payne continued. “He accepted the fact that we didn’t have the tights that we’ve never had for him, and he played, and he played well.” 

Payne said he had a heart-to-heart with Johnson at halftime. 

“This is a new day and age, a new generation of young people,” Payne said. “They are learning what it means to be a part of a team. They are learning what it means to be kids of character. They are learning. They are learning. All of them are learning.”

“There’s a generation where these people, these young kids now, think ‘I don’t feel good today. I can just shut it down.’ Well, that affects a whole lot of lives,” Payne added. “Ty-Laur Johnson is a great kid. A great kid. He is learning for the first time of his life what it is to be held accountable. To be on time. To be a part of a team and be his responsibility to the team. I’m proud of him for fighting through it but I also know that I cannot ever take my foot off his neck. I know that.”

Payne is in his second season as head coach of Louisville and has his team at 4-3. 

In his first season as coach, the Cardinals struggled mightily, finishing the year with a record of 4-28. 

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