Pittsburgh transfer Xavier Johnson announced his commitment to Indiana on Wednesday and his addition should provide a major backcourt boost for Mike Woodson and the Hoosiers next season.
Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard, averaged 14.2 points, 5.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds last season for the Panthers as a junior.
He chose Indiana over Baylor, Houston and St. Joseph’s.
Originally from Woodbridge, Virginia, Johnson was considered the 30th best available transfer or high school player on the market according to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic.
According to Vecenie, Johnson is “a tough guard out of the DMV area, and plenty of high-major teams could use a starting guard like him due to his ability to get separation and make plays for himself and teammates.”
Johnson was recruited by Indiana associate head coach Kenya Hunter when he was at Nebraska, but ultimately decided to sign with Pittsburgh. Johnson originally committed to Nebraska, but opted to reopen the recruiting process when Hunter left for UConn in the spring of 2018. That pre-existing relationship between Johnson and Hunter paid off for the Hoosiers, who now have another backcourt piece in the fold for the 2021-22 season.
A product of Bishop O’Connell High School, Johnson was rated the No. 232 player nationally out of high school by the 247Composite.
As a freshman at Pitt, he averaged a career-best 15.5 points. He made 81 career starts for the Panthers and averaged 13.7 points on 40.2 percent shooting. He’s a career 33.6 percent 3-point shooter.
Last season, Johnson ranked fourth in the country in assist rate, according to KenPom.com. Johnson’s assist rate was 42.4 percent. In ACC play, he had the highest assist rate in the conference at 41.5 percent.
Johnson is considered a combo guard, so Woodson should be able to deploy him at multiple positions in the backcourt.
Indiana still has multiple players in the transfer portal as of Wednesday afternoon. Race Thompson and Armaan Franklin remain in the portal while Parker Stewart, Khristian Lander and Jordan Geronimo have opted to withdraw from the portal and return to Bloomington.
(Photo credit: Pitt Athletics)
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