Arrest led to Johnson's ouster from Lobos roster

Updated: September 27, 2005, 1:20 PM ET
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The arrest of Aaron Johnson left New Mexico coach Ritchie McKay with no choice other than to dismiss the senior forward from the men's basketball team, McKay said.

Johnson, a Penn State transfer, was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with four counts of battery on a police officer.

Johnson became a former Lobo on Sunday.

"I am disappointed that Aaron chose to make the decision he made," McKay told The Albuquerque Tribune from Australia, where he is on a recruiting trip. "I wouldn't categorize him as a person who lacks character. I just think he made a poor decision. And based on the decision he made, I had no other choice."

Johnson, 22, was released from the Metropolitan Detention Center on a $20,000 bond later Saturday.

According to a metropolitan court complaint, the 6-foot-9, 240-pound Johnson struck four police officers attempting to remove him from a downtown night club.

McKay said he is unsure of Johnson's plans, but that Johnson might have a desire to remain at the university and try to be reinstated as a Lobo.

But the coach said he is closing off all possibilities of Johnson's return.

Johnson has one year of eligibility remaining. He averaged 10.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in his three-year career at Penn State.

Johnson is the third player since late July whom McKay has booted off the team.

McKay said he doesn't have a one-strike, you're-out policy.

"You deal with each situation individually," he said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press