Tight-gate: Louisville basketball’s Ty-Laur Johnson refused to play without leg sleeve

Nov 30, 2023, 9:41 AM

Ty-Laur Johnson playing in tights for Louisville basketball...

Ty-Laur Johnson #4 of the Louisville Cardinals against the Coppin State Eagles at KFC YUM! Center on November 15, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Tights, or the lack of them, were a real reason Louisville Cardinals freshman point guard Ty-Laur Johnson didn’t play much in a 73-68 win over Bellarmine on Wednesday night.


Johnson’s head coach, Kenny Payne, gave reporters the real reason after Johnson hardly played in the first half. He wasn’t benched for mistakes — or by his coach’s decision.

“You ready for this? I probably shouldn’t tell you this. We didn’t have the tights that he wanted, so he didn’t know if he wanted to play,” Payne told reporters. “Oh, yeah. 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. Oh, yeah. I don’t even know. But he figured it out in the second half. 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. Next (question).”

For a little more context, Johnson has reportedly been dealing with a groin issue, according to the Louisville Courier Journal, and wearing a leg sleeve was part of managing that injury.

Still, not a great look when Payne said multiple times that Johnson hadn’t ever worn the tights he was requesting.

Johnson ended up playing 19 minutes on Wednesday, scoring eight points and dishing out nine assists.

The 6-foot, 160-pound point guard had already been a hot-button topic. He’s averaged 21 minutes off the bench in every game so far and is Louisville’s only true point guard. Fans have wanted him to enter the starting lineup.

That would allow leading scorer Skyy Clark to slide into a more natural role. But Johnson isn’t doing himself favors.

“We all been freshmen before, we’re going to learn, but like I said, we need him on the floor because he really gets us going,” Clark said, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.

Let’s hope Clark gets his tights, earns his way into the starting lineup and helps the embattled Payne — the first-year Cardinals coach went 4-28 last year — turn the program around.


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Tight-gate: Louisville basketball’s Ty-Laur Johnson refused to play without leg sleeve