John Johnson, who hasn’t logged a minute in either of Pittsburgh’s two games to start the season, has informed Jamie Dixon he intends to transfer. If you recall, this is the second straight fall semester in which a Panther has chosen to transfer, with Khem Birch leaving for UNLV last year.
Rather than speculate, let’s just take this at its face value — a disgruntled player leaving due to lack of playing time.
Johnson, a sophomore, combined to play 29 minutes in Pitt’s two exhibition games. However, Dixon brought in established transfer Trey Zeigler from Central Michigan and promising freshman James Robinson, both of whom are guards. Johnson, a small two-guard, seems to have fallen out of the rotation in favor of the aforementioned newcomers.
As a freshman, Johnson logged 14.1 minutes per game and averaged a respectable 4.2 points while shooting 38.4 percent from long range. He poured in his biggest total against the traditionally fast-paced Virginia Military Institute, scoring 13 points and distributing five assists as well.
When Pitt was mired in what would become an eight-game losing streak, Johnson provided a much needed spark against Syracuse. The Panthers ultimately fell 71-63, but Johnson’s timely, reliable shooting from long range — he went 3-of-4 for the game — kept Pittsburgh close at a time when no one outside of Jay Bilas thought they had a chance.
Losing Johnson does not really hamper the Panthers. They have a very strong backcourt with Zeigler, Robinson and Tray Woodall.
But that being said, Johnson could have provided some reliable outside shooting off the bench. Woodall and Lamar Patterson are Pitt’s best three-point shooters, but the Panthers don’t really have much else. Zeigler has never been much of a shooter, and Robinson hasn’t shown a propensity for the three in Pitt’s two games.