January 20, 2009

Johnson talks Mississippi State

LSU's Trent Johnson is enduring his first taste of Southeastern Conference basketball and has fared pretty well thus far.

Johnson and his Tigers are 2-1 in league play and will attempt to make it a two way tie in the Western Division with Mississippi State tomorrow night when the two tangle in Baton Rogue at 7 p.m.

"We are playing well," Johnson said. "I thought our last home game versus South Carolina and of course on the road versus Ole Miss I thought we probably both games in the first half as good a basketball as we've played all year long. It's a good time to start playing well. We are getting contributions from a lot of guys right now."

One of those players that is junior forward Tasmin Mitchell. Mitchell is averaging 15.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game after missing all but three games of the 2007-08 season with an injury.

"He's playing well," Johnson said. "Tasmin is as coachable a kid as I've been around. He's more than exceeded my expectations coming into this year. I've heard a lot of things about how passionate and the caliber of a person that he was. He's all those things and more. He's very versatile. He's a heck of a basketball player and has gotten better each time out. Obviously when you've had the type of surgery that he had your never really your same old self. For the most part I've thought that he has worked his way back into great shape and is playing well for us."

Mitchell suffered a stress fracture in his left shin that forced him to have season-ending surgery. He applied and was a granted a medical redshirt and will have an extra year of availability left next season. Johnson believes that if Mitchell would have been able to stay healthy last season then he would not be the head coach of the Tigers.

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