Remember Angelo Johnson?

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Angelo Johnson was a backup guard on the 2008 USC team, which lost to Kansas State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  He averaged 4.5 points per game in 33 appearances for Tim Floyd, but transferred to Southern Miss over playing time concerns.

Four years later, he is back in the Big Dance after leading Southern Miss to a school record 25 wins this season.  The Golden Eagles earned an NCAA invite for the first time since 1991.

Johnson-Eustachy.jpgJohnson has been forced to overcome more than a transfer.  In 2010, he was shot in the calf as the result of a drive-by in his hometown of Minneapolis.  And then last summer, he lost his 4-year-old daughter to complications from sickle cell anemia.

"She was my best friend," Johnson told USA Today. "We were really close. God called her home this summer."

Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy (pictured with Johnson by Troy Taormina) has great respect for Johnson, who has grown into a tough and mature man.

"In that situation, he comforted the people around him more than he comforted himself," Eustachy told USA Today. "That's the kind of guy he is. Sometimes, he spreads himself thin. He worries about everybody. If that's a bad quality, I wish I had it."

Johnson and the Golden Eagles are first up in the morning session Thursday against Kansas State at 9:40 a.m. pacific on truTV.

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