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Encouraging words have helped Hugo's Trey Johnson cope

But for all of the pinch-me moments that Johnson had ... he would've rather been anywhere else under the circumstances.
by Jenni Carlson Published: March 11, 2013

Trey Johnson was a special guest of the Thunder for its game against the Celtics on Sunday.

That much you likely saw on the TV broadcast.

What you didn't see was the special treatment that the team gave the now famous basketball player from Hugo. Breakfast at the arena. Access to pregame warm-ups. All sorts of goodies from the Thunder.

And the seat he had?

It's normally reserved for Thunder owner Clay Bennett and is right next to Chesapeake Energy founder Aubrey McClendon.

“He's a good guy,” Trey said nonchalantly, as only a 16-year-old could.

But for all of the pinch-me moments that Trey had on Sunday, he would've rather been anywhere else under the circumstances.

He was there because of a mistake he wishes he could take back.

Ever since Thursday night, when he scored a last-second, wrong-goal basket in the state high school tournament, there have been dark moments. There's anger for making such a big blunder. There's sadness about his team not being able to keep playing. There's regret about why he didn't just hold the ball and let the clock run out.

In his first interview since the game, he still wasn't able to talk much about the game. What he is talking about is what happened since.

Trey wants you to know that he's doing all right and that he's going to be fine — and that your support is part of the reason why.

It hasn't fixed everything.

“But the support and stuff,” he said Monday morning, “that really helped a lot.”

Since news of Trey's mistake spread and video of the play went viral, there has been a tidal wave of concern. Several NBA types reached out to him. A local movement on Twitter created the hash tag #hughugo. National writers and bloggers took up the story and the sympathy. national columnist Gregg Doyel, not known for doing warm-and-fuzzy pieces, opined about Trey on Monday.

“We're cheering from him because he is us,” Doyel wrote. “The world isn't easy and everybody loses, but if Trey Johnson can get past this — when he gets past this — everybody wins.”

Trey is working on moving on, but it's difficult. The end of the Class 3A quarterfinals against Millwood is just that devastating. Hugo led by one with only seconds left when an inbounds pass went to Trey, who sprinted toward the wrong basket for an uncontested layup at the buzzer.

It gave Millwood a one-point victory.

“I made a mistake that night,” Trey said.

He doesn't want to elaborate on it, doesn't want to get into the specifics of what went wrong.

Who can blame him?

Even though his coaches and teammates did everything possible to console him in the locker room after the game, he left the arena in tears.

“I took it hard,” he said. “I wanted us to go all the way.”

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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