Johnson returns to Longwood hoops lineup
Published 5:40 pm Thursday, December 3, 2015
Editor’s note: The original print and online version of this story quoted a university news release as saying that Jason Pimentel had been dismissed from the basketball team. Instead, the release said that Pimentel “will not return to the team.” University spokesman Chris Cook took issue with The Herald’s reporting but refused to clarify the circumstances of Pimentel’s permanent departure from the team.
By Hannah Davis
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The Farmville Herald
Longwood University men’s basketball player Shaquille Johnson — who was suspended for 10 games after his October arrest on a misdemeanor marijuana charge — will return to the lineup for the Lancers’ Dec. 12 game against Richmond. Meanwhile, teammate Jason Pimentel will not return to the team, university officials said in a release, but a spokesman refused to say why.
Longwood Director of Athletics Troy Austin announced Johnson’s return in the press release Wednesday afternoon.
Chris Cook, Longwood’s assistant vice president for athletics communications, refused to say whether Pimentel had quit the team or was dismissed.
In announcing the players’ suspensions in October, Austin said they had “not met the standards Longwood expects from its student-athletes.”
Johnson and Pimentel were charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana on Tuesday, Oct. 6, according to the Prince Edward General District Court online case information system database. Court hearings on those charges are scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 4.
“Shaquille has met the benchmarks head coach Jayson Gee and I set for him to be able to return to the team,” Austin said. “Longwood athletics department policies are among the strictest in our conference and the commonwealth when it comes to student-athlete accountability. Following those policies and guidelines, and considering Shaquille’s response to his initial suspension, we determined that a 10-game suspension is appropriate.”
Their October arrests were not the players’ first brush with the law.
Johnson was charged with malicious wounding of a Hampden-Sydney College student in August 2014, but prosecutors dropped the charge a few months later when the alleged victim was not present for a hearing.
Prior to his time at Longwood, Johnson played for Auburn University, where he was dismissed from the team as a sophomore guard in July 2013 following an arrest for second-degree possession of marijuana, according to the Opelika-Auburn News.
Pimentel was charged with sexual battery in November 2014 and was found guilty of the charge in February, but he was exonerated this fall after appealing to circuit court. The charge was reduced to assault and battery by Prince Edward Commonwealth’s Attorney James Ennis before Pimentel was found innocent.
Pimentel was dismissed from the Old Dominion University’s men’s basketball team in September 2012.
Pimentel played in Longwood’s last eight games of last season after being reinstated to the team following a 25-game suspension that resulted from his arrest. He averaged 4.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
Last season, Johnson started 31 of 33 games for Longwood and averaged 13.6 points per game. He was named to the Big South All-Tournament team and named the No. 4 dunker in college basketball by CollegeBasketballTalk on NBCSports.com. He was also named to the CollegeSportsMadness.com Preseason Big South All-Conference team this year.