Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury said Monday that Johnson, a senior guard, is now on indefinite suspension after skipping out on two practices last week. He had already been suspended for Saturday's game at LSU after sending out Twitter messages on Wednesday that were critical of Stansbury and MSU fans.
Johnson didn't show up to practice on either Thursday or Friday, and Stansbury wasn't able to speak with him.
"He just disappeared," the 13th-year coach said.
The two finally spoke Monday, when Stansbury informed Johnson of the indefinite suspension, which is a two-pronged discipline: In addition to his Twitter missteps, Johnson is being docked for violating the school's class attendance policy. He was suspended a game in December for the same thing.
Stansbury said Johnson "seemed remorseful" and said that when his suspension ends will depend a lot on how he acts. Johnson is allowed to practice with the team.
"No one else will tell me when he gets off suspension," Stansbury said. "Ravern will help make that decision. I will make it."
It's been a tough season for Johnson, who at one time led the SEC in scoring but has averaged only 13.1 points per game in league play while shooting 26.1 percent from 3-point range. After his 10-point outing against Alabama on Wednesday - MSU lost, 75-61 - he sent out a Twitter message that criticized Stansbury's coaching and followed that up with a message criticizing fans.
He deleted his Twitter page that same night, and the next day Stansbury banned all his players from Twitter.
Senior guard Riley Benock is one of the few Bulldogs who didn't have a Twitter account to delete. He said he's got no practical need for it, and he can easily see the dangers of it.
Benock thinks Johnson's mistake was venting in the heat of the moment.
"[I]t makes them feel better for that minute, and then they might regret it," Benock said. "Obviously after that point it's too late, and that's what I think happened with this situation."
Stansbury has drawn some national criticism for not also suspending Renardo Sidney, who retweeted Johnson's initial message and then offered his own criticism of fans. Stansbury said he doesn't base his decisions on what others think, but he harped on accountability.
"When you don't do right, there will be accountability. That's what our program's won games on and won championships on, doing right."
Bost fights through injury
n Point guard Dee Bost played 36 minutes in Saturday's 58-57 win over LSU despite suffering a strained Achilles' tendon three days earlier. He said Monday his foot was "sore," and he had a protective boot on it, but he was set to practice.
"We'll be smart with it, trust me," Stansbury said. "It's a fine line, him practicing and practicing to the point he can't play."
Bost's teammates expect him to be back on the court Wednesday when Arkansas (14-8, 4-5 SEC) pays a visit. They'll need him, as the Bulldogs (12-10, 4-4) try to hold on to second place in the Western Division.
"Usually if he can walk, he's going to play," Benock said.
Another start for Steele
n With Johnson out, freshman Jalen Steele will draw his second consecutive start, taking the shooting guard spot while Benock slides into Johnson's three-guard position.
Against LSU, Steele scored four points and turned in a solid defensive effort. While losing Johnson hurts MSU - in theory - Stansbury likes what Steele adds.
"I think your skill level probably increases little bit," Stansbury said. "You lose the ability of a guy to just jump up and make shots like Ray has the ability to do. But there are some other things that you don't lose."
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.