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UH guard Johnson won’t play in WAC tournament

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    Hawaii's Zane Johnson drives on Utah State's Preston Medlin in the first half of the Utah State vs Hawaii basketball game at Stan Sheriff Center.

LAS VEGAS » Hawaii senior shooting guard Zane Johnson will not play in the Western Athletic Conference tournament in Las Vegas this week, a UH spokesman confirmed Monday night.

Johnson is one of three players leading the Rainbow Warriors with 14.0 points per game. He recently set the UH career record for 3-pointers made and was named an All-WAC honorable mention over the weekend.

Sixth-seeded UH (15-15) opens the tournament against third-seeded Idaho (18-12) on Thursday.

The Arizona native was not with the team on its red-eye flight departing for Las Vegas. Johnson previously said he was suffering from an illness leading up to last week’s senior night game against Utah State, but he received IV fluids before tipoff and played 28 minutes, scoring 10 points.

It is believed his absence is for lingering medical reasons.

After the 61-60 loss to USU on Saturday, Johnson sounded optimistic about turning things around in the WAC tournament.

"It’s a new season for us, and I think no matter what we can play with anybody," he said then. "We showed (that) throughout the year. We just gotta fix things, sharpen it up and just move on."

Of his illness, he said after the USU loss: "I was sick the past couple days. I was sick last night. I had IVs before the game. It did help, but I still didn’t feel great. I was trying to give the most I could and unfortunately it wasn’t enough."

It appears the only way Johnson can rejoin the team before his career is over is by UH qualifying for a postseason tournament, which would almost certainly require UH to run the table in the WAC tournament with three wins in three days.

Freshman guard Shaquille Stokes is the most likely beneficiary of Johnson’s absence and could see an increased role against the Vandals.

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