Pitt Suffers Another Blow With Durand Johnson Transfer


Jan 6, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers forward Durand Johnson (5) dribbles the ball as Maryland Terrapins forward Evan Smotrycz (1) defends during the first half at the Petersen Events Center. Pittsburgh won 79-59. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Every time I get excited about the potential of Pitt basketball, something crazy happens.

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A little over a week ago, I explained the possibility of Pitt having a very successful season with an experienced squad.

And yesterday, we found out that senior guard Durand Johnson, who was suspended for the entire 2014-15 season started after missing 20 games the previous season due to an ACL injury, has decided to transfer from the Pitt program.

As I expected entering this season, I figured that Durand Johnson and Jamel Artis would be two legit scorers for the Panthers.

Jamie Dixon has now lost his entire Class of 2011, which for a program like Pitt, could lead to trouble (like we have seen this season).

The 6-foot-6 Johnson was a native of Baltimore, and he averaged 8.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game during the last season he played.  He was arguably Pitt’s best three-point shooter, and he had the ability to drive to the basket.

He is expected to graduate and become eligible immediately.  As time goes on, I continue to lose more faith in Coach Dixon.  Durand spent the entire season with Pitt, practiced with Pitt, went to Hawaii with Pitt, and apparently screamed at the rest of the team following their first round NIT loss.

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  • And after all of this hoopla, he is now leaving Pitt.

    He will likely be a highly sought commodity, and Dixon stated that Johnson moving on is probably a positive move for both parties.  I simply do not understand why he remained with the program if this was what the outcome would be.

    Had he left immediately, Pitt may have been able to recruit another player.  At this point in the offseason, Pitt will look to fill that role with a graduate transfer.

    We never heard the reason for the season-long suspension, and that may remain a mystery that will never be released.

    Regardless, I believe this is a bad blow for a Pitt team who struggled this past year.  Incoming freshman guard Damon Wilson Jr. will now be counted on, as well as sophomore guard Cameron Johnson who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury.

    You may read this article, and say good riddance because he didn’t help the team last season.  Had he not been injured, I believe Pitt would have been higher than an 8-seed two seasons ago.  Had he not been suspended this year, Pitt may have won an additional 3 or 4 games, which likely would have been enough to make the Big Dance.

    I will keep my fingers crossed for McDonald’s All-American MVP Cheik Diallo and graduate transfer Mike Thorne from Charlotte, but Kentucky has come calling for both of them.

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