After rumors of being unhappy with playing time and a suggestive tweet, guard John Johnson is no longer a member of the Pittsburgh Panthers.
At his press conference Friday following the win against Mount St. Mary’s, Head Coach Jamie Dixon had said said both Johnsons, John and Durand were sick. John Johnson went to Twitter briefly stating the following, “I’m not hurt, I’m sick” and then saying “Basketball is more political than the election”.
There had been a report yesterday that Johnson had left the program, and it was confirmed today.
“We wish him the best,” Head Coach Jamie Dixon said. “I talked to him a few times over the last couple of days, and actually, more than that. We’re going to help him out. We discussed some things today and we’re really just trying to help him find the best place for him down the road.”
Upon talking to Johnson at the team’s media day, he appeared excited to have the opportunity to play the point, something he did in high school. It seemed like a fresh start.
With this in mind though, Johnson did say one thing that did wind up holding true.
“Coach Dixon just says that guys that work the hardest are going to get out on the court,” Johnson said that day.
The Panthers went through a similar situation last year when prized recruit Khem Birch left the program. Senior Tray Woodall, reflected on Johnson.
“I’ve been here for a while and seen a lot of things,” Woodall said. “Pitt’s not really for everybody, not in the negative sense, but some guys like it here but some don’t feel comfortable as the years go on.”
Jamie Dixon has added Aron Nwankwo and Chris Jones along with Mike Lecak and Malcolm Gilbert as redshirts for the season, putting the active roster to 10. Johnson’s transfer will be made official at the end of the semester.
Johnson averaged 4.2 points per game and hit 38.4% of his three point attempts last season, his freshman year. His career high was 13 points against VMI on December 6, 2011.
It is a shame that Johnson made this decision, but it is clearly out of frustration. Tray Woodall and James Robinson clearly were ahead of him and Cam Wright was ahead of him. As a result Johnson lost minutes in exhibition play and Dixon saying ‘wish we could have gotten John Johnson more minutes,’ became a main stay once again. Johnson’s departure comes with the news that Trey Ziegler will serve as a point guard in his place. It is a shame that he quit so soon, especially since the transfer does not become official until the end of the semester, he still will lose the same amount of time if he just rides it out until then. A lot could change but Johnson made this decision for himself.
As far as I am concerned, the end of this clip when he says ‘just hold it tight’ defines his legacy for him.