Hackett is sore, Johnson's ready

Times Staff Writer

The differences between USC point guards Daniel Hackett and Angelo Johnson can be measured in terms of height (Hackett is six inches taller), age (Hackett is 5 1/2 months older) and college experience (Hackett is a sophomore and Johnson is a freshman).

But there are also distinctions that can't be quantified by rulers or calendars.

Hackett brings poise and toughness while Johnson possesses the quickness to defend speedy counterparts.

"Daniel's more of a heady, smart player right now because he's had more experience," sophomore guard Dwight Lewis said. "But we have full confidence in both of them."

The Trojans' faith in Johnson is essential because they are approaching another game in which they might have to rely more on the understudy than Hackett, whose recovery from a bruised right pelvis sustained Thursday against Arizona might have suffered a setback.

Hackett, limited to 18 minutes during USC's 67-53 victory over Arizona State on Saturday, did not practice for a second consecutive day Tuesday. Coach Tim Floyd said Hackett wouldn't have been able to participate had the Trojans played Tuesday night.

"He's really tight and the swelling's gone down, but he appears to be more sore than he was," Floyd said.

Floyd might have used Johnson as a starter anyway at Washington on Thursday because he likes the way the 5-foot-11 Johnson matches up against Huskies guard Venoy Overton. Johnson started against Washington last month during USC's 66-51 victory at the Galen Center and had seven points and five rebounds.

In two games filling in for Hackett last week, Johnson averaged 5.5 points, five rebounds, 1.5 assists, one steal and 1.5 turnovers in 34 minutes.

"I'm willing to go out there and play, whatever my role is -- coming off the bench, starting," Johnson said.

"I started a couple of games early, so I'm kind of used to it. It's no big deal."

Johnson said he is still learning about poise from Hackett, who seems to have a calming effect on his teammates.

"Daniel just brings so much to our team, defensive-rebounding wise and assist-to-turnover ratio," Floyd said. "He finishes at the rim and can make an open three and defends. He does a lot of things.

"Angelo's going to be fine, but he's a freshman."

Floyd on Bob Knight, who resigned Monday from Texas Tech with a Division I-record 902 victories: "I think the softness that we have in our world has judged him unfairly, and I think that what we've tried to do is make every coach the same and he was true to his convictions and spoke from his heart and there were times when that was not accepted well.

"But I respect him for being true to himself and the fact that his players left there as better people and left there with degrees and that he never embarrassed any institution he was with as far as NCAA sanctions."

Floyd's next victory will be No. 300 at the college level. "If you've coached as long as I have," said Floyd, in his 15th collegiate season, "you better win 300 or you won't be coaching." . . . Freshman forward Davon Jefferson did not practice after experiencing flu-like symptoms, Floyd said.



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