April 1, 2017

Cam Johnson Latest to Leave

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 8:02 am

Well, so much for an impromptu vacation.

You know it’s bad news when a press release is e-mailed out at 5:30 on a Saturday morning:

Redshirt sophomore Cameron Johnson will graduate and transfer following the spring semester school officials announced Saturday morning. The Moon Township, Pa., native will earn his degree in three years at Pitt and have two season of eligibility remaining after receiving a medical redshirt for the 2014-15 season

Johnson averaged 11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game a year ago as the Panthers finished 16-17 overall and 4-14 in ACC play. A two-time All-ACC Academic Team and a 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, Johnson finished fifth in the ACC in three-point percentage (.415) and eighth in three-point field goals (2.36 3pg.).

Pitt currently has a seven-player recruiting class featuring highly-touted junior college prospects Jared Wilson-Frame and Troy Simons and high school standouts Aaron Thompson, Marcus Carr, Terrell Brown, Peace Ilegomah and  Shamiel Stevenson. The Panthers have additional scholarships available and will look to reshape the 2017-18 roster with graduate transfers, traditional transfers and late signees. Johnson will become the fourth player to transfer out of the program since the close of the 2016-17 season.

Man, I hadn’t even gotten the coffee made when I saw this. Probably a good thing, when you don’t want to do a spit-take on your phone.

Every other transfer, departure, whatever had made sense insofar as a lack of development and the kid simply not being very good at the ACC level. Couple that with the fact that transfers in college basketball are much more commonplace at every program these days. But losing Cam Johnson. That’s bad.

To lose a local kid. A kid who is the son of a Pitt player. The only remaining starter from last year’s team and the best player left. That’s BC-basketball bad.

Cam Johnson seemed to be a player that actually would benefit under Coach Kevin Stallings system. He had a greenlight to shoot. In the second half of the season, really began to show signs of developing the rest of his game. Getting inside more for rebounds and going to the basket. Better effort on defense.

I don’t know what to say here. There will be more later, but this is very abrupt. There are no departing quotes from Johnson. No polite goodbyes from Coach Kevin Stallings. Just that he is leaving, and an ending graph begging for players.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it. There was and is no way Stallings would be fired (or in some fantasies, he would voluntarily quit) after one year. No matter how big the drop-off of a program or turmoil; there is not one example out there of a high-major program firing a coach after only one year without some sort of scandal. The school would be hard-pressed to find a good coach — even a retread — willing to take the job when the leash is that short.

Having said that, I am starting to feel the need to walk back my assumption that he will get to at least three years. Stallings in barely a year, has overseen a complete deconstruction of the roster. Next year the team will have (at best) only 3 scholarship players from last year, freshmen, JUCOs, and likely graduate transfers. That’s not a recipe for anything but the cellar of the ACC.

I’m sure there is a need to vent. Try not to cross into personal, libelous stuff that will get you banned.

UPDATE (9:47): Here’s a Trib piece with a quote from Cam Johnson’s dad, Gil:

Johnson, a redshirt sophomore guard, met with Pitt coach Kevin Stallings for three hours Friday and declared his intention to transfer.

“He had no issues with coach Stallings at all,” said Gil Johnson, Cam’s father and a former Pitt player. “They had a plan for him. It was going to be centered around him. But there’s too much uncertainty there. He wants to win, and you’re going to have 8-10 new bodies.”

Graduate transfer with 2 years of eligibility.

What the heck is that guy doing! Cam Johnson was the best player left on the roster and had a ton of potential, not to mention local. The Pete is gonna be empty next year. Stallings just seems like a bad apple, there is no way to hide it now. I hope the new AD gets to the bottom of things and determines if he needs to go or stay.

Comment by Richman 04.01.17 @ 8:22 am

Do we still have Nix?
What about the ballboys and managers?
See, all is not lost.

How low can we go!

Comment by Gasman 04.01.17 @ 8:31 am

Forget the “I told you so’s” from some. No one like the hire. Some said “let’s give him a chance”. I was one who believed his “chance” played out over the entirety of his career and therefore was a known mediocre commodity and a terrible hire for Pitt. The only debate worth having is what to do moving forward. Barnes and Stallings have completely torn down the program we all took some measure of pride in over the last fifteen years or so. Therefore there is no harm in removing him immediately if Pitt can make a great hire to rectify this situation moving forward. Because Stallings can’t. No one wants to play for him. Lyke needs to find the money to rid Pitt of the Stallings stain and make a great hire. If the timing isn’t right now then it needs to be back channeled over the course of the next year so they’re ready to roll at the end of next season. As an alum, this is truly embarrassing and disgraceful. It was from the start upon Dixon being nudged out and KS being hired. But much like our current president it manages to reach new lows seemingly weekly. It needs to be addressed immediately. I don’t think KS only getting one year will make it hard to hire the next guy. They all know what a dumpster fire he is and in some way it has to perceived as a good thing that an administration can and will move quickly to address things that need to be addressed. Fire Stallings. Stallings stain removal. Hail to Pitt forever.

Comment by Will 04.01.17 @ 9:00 am

Barnes was, and now Stallings IS a cancer on this University.
Cancers need to be surgically removed ASAP. Let’s get on with it.

Don’t blame Cam. No one wants to play for an abusive coach who throws his players under the bus at every turn.

PG even wrote an article on how Pitt will have to use football players to fill out the team.

Welcome to Pitt Heather. Do something now!!

Comment by Dan 72 04.01.17 @ 9:18 am

Stallings will be the Pitt men’s basketball coach at the beginning of the season. Whether or not he lives to see the end of it is anyone’s guess – it will depend on a lot of things. I suspect that, at least by the end of the season, he’s not going to want to be at Pitt any more than the fans do. It would be at best, questionable for a newly hired AD to show a Division 1 basketball coach the door in his first year. That being said, expect next season to be absolutely horrible, and expect pressure to build from the new AD who doesn’t want it on her resume long term. She’ll have an excuse at the end of the season, unless he gives her a softball (no pun intended…) early on.

In other news, Dixon had a lot of success with other people’s programs (OPP) in the past. On his own, with his recruits, it was a little dicier. Howland has a really nice class coming in next year at MS State. I suspect Dixon will fare better in the D12 than the ACC, but I’m not convinced he will thrive. What impressed me was his ability to motivate the kids he got and get them to buy in. They played with heart and passion, and that’s a lot, but it’s still the NIT. He was leaving anyway – it was always just a matter of time – the ACC move accelerated it. I’m happy for the guy; he’s in a better situation. It will take a long time before he builds TCu into a real contender and then underachieves when he gets there. REalistically, if we’re going to measure coaches by what they’ve done in the past, that’s who Dixon is. He’s a great ambassador to the game, but beyond that he’s a very good – not great – coach.

Speaking of underachieving at the higher levels, there is more than a little growing consternation regarding Millers performance in the NCAA tournament out in AZ. He wins conferences championships but seems to have an Elite 8 ceiling just like Pitt’s last guy. I still don’t believe he will ever leave AZ of his own accord, but it may not be his decision Lute brought them two Final Fours, a runner-up, and one title. That took 25 years. Will AZ get impatient? Hard to say. Both have brought a lot of mid-20 win seasons or better. Is that good enough? I suspect the answer for a lot of Pitt fans NOW would be a resounding “YES” – but that clearly was not the case in recent past. If… IF Pitt finds that guy… perhaps expectations should be… “adjusted”.

Comment by 55 04.01.17 @ 9:54 am

Gasman, don’t forget about Ryan Luther … now there’s a guy I feel sorry for. BTW, he never took a redshirt, so he can transfer and still have a year left to play.

Comment by wbb 04.01.17 @ 10:10 am

Johnson headed to TCU?

Comment by PittofDreams 04.01.17 @ 10:23 am

Guys, That’s OK because our coach is re-arranging the Titanic’s deck chairs. Who knows they may be able to win 3 or 4 games, before the ACC games start.

Comment by Justinian 04.01.17 @ 10:45 am

Cam Johnson was the one offensive player they really needed to keep. Scoring will be a big problem next season. For the 1st time in 12 or 13 years, there were some games I just didn’t bother to watch. During the Big East years I wouldn’t miss a game.

Comment by Justinian 04.01.17 @ 10:54 am

If you’re a Boston College fan, this is good news. BC won’t be the last place teem in the ACC.

Comment by Justinian 04.01.17 @ 11:00 am

KS costs Pitt $2M per year. Lost revenue, merchandise, parking, concessions, recruits, brand damage >$3M per year. Easy decision. Fire KS now. Well…buy him out.

Comment by TX Panther 04.01.17 @ 11:03 am

They may have to implement some type of mercey rule for pitt in the acc next year.

Comment by Steve 04.01.17 @ 11:17 am


I didn’t like the KS hire however he deserves a chance to fix this mes. Also, JD is part owner of this as is Barnes. Well
documented that JD’s recruiting the last two years of his
regime were marginal including huge misses on players
like Damon Wilson. KS makes big bucks time to find players.

Comment by JR 04.01.17 @ 11:21 am


Also, Coaches will be breaking down Cam’s door given
his size, three point shooting, and his growing ability to
take the ball to the hoop.

Comment by JR 04.01.17 @ 11:25 am

Can’t blame a kid for finishing early, getting a 3.9 GPA, and transferring to get a jump start on a graduate degree. I sure it doesn’t help when the coach has the team in transition and many of his team mates have moved on.

Congrats Cam Johnson, you’ve done well for yourself and were an exemplary student-athelete for Pitt.

The clock has to be ticking for Stallings now. He has a brand new roster of kids to implement his game strategy. I can’t imagine he gets more than the this coming year to show something or get the ax.

Comment by JoePatKnewSandoBlew 04.01.17 @ 11:26 am

This news is so rotten that I was hoping that is a bad April Fools Day joke. Unfortunately it is true.
Well, we are truly a football school and the stench that will waft over The Pete will take many years to clear.

Comment by Isnore 04.01.17 @ 11:39 am

Fire Stallings. Offer the job to the coach who can bring the most players with him! Do it now Heather!

Comment by Dan 72 04.01.17 @ 11:43 am

very interesting … would be great to see him end up at TCU. I like Cam but am not as high on him as others on this and similar boards. I just don’t see him as a dominant team-leader star,but rather a nice role player that breaks out every so often. best wishes to him wherever he lands. h2p

Comment by Tomas 04.01.17 @ 11:56 am

Told you 12 months about the guy was a disaster. Love the give him a chance crowd. Heather is a puppet. Look at her salary if you don’t think so.

Comment by Upittbaseball 04.01.17 @ 12:06 pm

Baseball loses to Duke 14-0. Comical

Comment by Upittbaseball 04.01.17 @ 12:07 pm

Well, nix, Milligan, and Luther are next I’d say

Entirely brand new roster next year

I wish pitt basketball could still be a big east members, it was a death sentence to join the ACC

But, football rules the finances

I’ve been very opinionated with how KS has been handled by pitt fans, no-one liked the hire!!

I was more irritated with how the fans dumped on him

After the past year and now the off-season, it is clear that pitt basketball is a giant dumpster of a fire

How can it be fixed?, I have no idea

I just want pitt basketball to be good again

Comment by Keith Slater 04.01.17 @ 12:32 pm

Anyone see Marcus Carr in the high school championship game? Looked like he didn’t even want to be there, and was routinely torched on D. Overall a great day for Pitt hoops. What the hell is going on?

Comment by Antiguafor200Alex 04.01.17 @ 12:56 pm

Antigue – The fool dokish raved on him. Hilarious how clueless he is.

Comment by Upittbaseball 04.01.17 @ 1:13 pm

Let Ryan Luther play tight end.

Complete demolition of a once proud program.
I hope Herman begins a slow rot from the inside out

Comment by Gasman 04.01.17 @ 1:38 pm

I remember when Ralph Willard coached Pitt basketball and attended a Pitt golf tournament in York, PA. I lived near York at the time and helped with the tournament. I was asked to sit with Ralph for dinner because no one at the golf outing wanted to sit at his table. I tried to carry on a conservation with Ralph but he really didn’t want to chat. Fortunately, I was not in his foursome. I should have been forewarned because his golf partners didn’t want to eat with him. Shortly after this golf outing, Ralph was gone. It looks as though history is repeating itself with Kevin Stallings. I am sad for the Pitt students who have built a reputation of being loud and fanatical at home games. With Pitt moving to the ACC cellar, students will find something else to do on game day. Sad.

Comment by MariettaMike 04.01.17 @ 2:11 pm

See you all in July for meet the Pitt players summer league at Montour high.

Comment by alcofan 04.01.17 @ 2:24 pm

On the positive side, after Ralph Willard was gone, Pitt had its two best coaches (back to back) in Pitt history. Hail to Pitt!

Comment by MariettaMike 04.01.17 @ 2:28 pm

Maybe Miller snags Cam like he did with TJ McConnel.

Comment by alcofan 04.01.17 @ 2:37 pm

I didn’t like the Stallings hire and wish he wasn’t the coach. He is historically mediocre. At the same time, it’s a little tiresome listening to some complain about these players leaving – the same players that everyone says aren’t ACC quality. Johnson is a nice role player with some potential who will be missed but geez some of you have blasted him for two years. A few of the others might have been decent with a few years of growing like the old days of Dixon. But Dixon didn’t leave a deep roster and Stallings is probably right in cleaning house now. Can he coach the new men he brings in? Nothing from his history shows us he can so we’re going to be bad for awhile. Do you think we’d be any better if these current players stayed??? Our best hope is that Stallings can recruit some ACC level players, and we get rid of him after a few years.

Comment by AnotherClancyrebound 04.01.17 @ 2:39 pm

As we sink into BB purgatory, think FB.

Comment by Frank MD 04.01.17 @ 5:08 pm

No offense to Cam, I wish him well, but college must be a whole lot easier than when I went to school. How do you get a degree in 3 years and play Division 1 Basketball, which is comparable to a full time job? With a 3.9 QPA! The kid must be a genius.

The sad thing is he is just coming into his own, and somebody else is going to get a very good player.

Comment by gc 04.01.17 @ 5:42 pm

Also, sad to see Gonzaga in the Final Four when we were giving them a beating last year when the game was called in Hawaii.

Comment by gc 04.01.17 @ 5:50 pm

We almost went to a final four and we almost beat gonzaga last year. Big deal.

Comment by Goalie44 04.01.17 @ 7:55 pm

GC – Academic Services gives you all you need. Classes to take and non stop tutoring and help on tests coming up. A 3.9 isn’t surprising.

Comment by Upittbaseball 04.01.17 @ 8:28 pm

I know you are allowed a few hours of practice a week during offseason. I guess Luther and Stallings just play one on one?

Sad. Comical. But so very sad…

Comment by Pap76 04.01.17 @ 9:35 pm

Oh I forgot Nix and Milligan haven’t bailed yet. As long as Stallings suits up they can at least run 2 on 2…

Comment by Pap76 04.01.17 @ 9:38 pm

Luther and Stallings play HORSE.
I checked.

Comment by Gasman 04.01.17 @ 9:40 pm

I know this is a Pitt site and while I obviously despise Pedo St, WVU, and The Golden Domers, I’ve never worked up a hatred for Duquesne. Maybe because they have never been a threat to Pitt, as we’ve pretty much owned them.

I really like the Keith Dambrot hire. I’d take him over the jackass we have in a second. He’s got his work cut out for him for sure. Who woulda thunk it would be better to be a Dukes fan than a Pitt fan. At least he won the press conference. Stallings lost that and the losses kept coming…

Comment by Pap76 04.01.17 @ 9:48 pm

Totally agree with Pap76. My dad want to Duquesne and I have to think he is smiling down from heaven. Never liked the Stallings hire but had no idea things would get so bad so fast. I will keep my season tickets another year (since 1982) but my 6 tickets are now down to 2…fans are bailing out.

Comment by Lastrowofsection4 04.02.17 @ 7:18 am

Maybe many of us are overlooking Stallings’ brilliant poker move… Yeah, by all accounts he’s been a total disaster, but in response he’s run the entire team off so that if we got rid of him now and his recruits left (recruits = the entire team), we’d be left with a REC team for a season. This ensure we keep him at least another year to lock in the recruits we do have. I think Mr. Stallings knows when to hold em’ and when to fold em’… Kudos, coach. Well played…

Comment by 1618mt 04.02.17 @ 10:39 am

1618mt – that’s also the reason we should cut loose now. It’s a rebuilding year anyways. Keeping him doesn’t ensure his kids won’t transfer. Next season is a lost season anyways. We’re going to have to do this again when Stallings is inevitably let go. Just get it over with now and end this misery.

One concern with this incoming class is that they don’t appear to be bonding off the court. Interviews on PGHNow indicate they are not communicating much leading into the summer. A Dixon hallmark was family. This is going to a mishmash of junior college kids and freshman with zero ties to Pitt. No senior leadership or any level of leadership with ACC experience.

I just don’t see how this works.

Those blaming Dixon are comical. Who knows what this incoming class looks like with a better assistant and recruiting budget? Damon Wilson, Mannigault and Kithcart are also just the type of kids that go from deer in the headlights to major contributors later in their careers. No way we can predict they would have flamed out the way they did.

Stalling inherited a veteran team. He chose to keep the incoming class and did not pursue a PG in the off season. He’s the one who chose to go public with his dissatisfaction of players. He’s the one that players and assistants are defecting from.

I don’t think firing him now would do irreparable harm to Pitt. Firing Dixon was worse. With the way the season went down, the controversy that was created and a new AD in town a lot could be written off to circumstance. I do think it narrows Pitt’s pool of candidates. Pitt probably would. It have the luxury of an established coach and may have to settle for a riskier move of going after a hot assistant …they couldn’t be worse than Stallings though.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.02.17 @ 12:00 pm

^ would probably not

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.02.17 @ 12:02 pm

Tossing, I was just having some fun. If it were up to me, I’d get rid of him now and take my chances. Even Dusquene was able to make a decent hire by all accounts

Comment by 1618mt 04.02.17 @ 12:26 pm

I met a fellow Pitt fan at a marble agate fair and he was shocked about Johnson. I guess we all feel the same on this.

Comment by Frank MD 04.02.17 @ 4:01 pm


Your always quick to point out when pitt baseball loses

They just took 2 of 3 from duke and are 6-6 in ACC, that’s not to bad??

Comment by Keith 04.02.17 @ 8:16 pm

Nice to see them win a series Keith 100%. Duke and VT are bad 1/3. We need to beat the winners and lots of chances coming up.

Comment by Upittbaseball 04.02.17 @ 8:19 pm

I really wouldn’t be surprised if Cam Johnson transfers to TCU. He would be in the NCAA tournament both years — TCU is definitely on the way up under Dixon — and he would be with the coach who recruited him.

Comment by Howard 04.02.17 @ 10:59 pm

I’m going to shock you guys and say I’m looking forward to next year with Stallings first recruiting class. Reposts of KS demise are greatly over exaggerated. None of the guys who left were going to make major contributions next year, but would have used up another year of elegibility, only to get modestly good by the time they were seniors. We have a change now to watch an incoming group of kids grow together and “maybe” become something in a couple of years. Would you guys appreciate a Georgia Tech type of year next year? With a couple of senior transfers they could match that, and it sure would be fun to see the ACC royalty underestimate them. KS is a good but not great coach who fits the ACC style better than JD ever could.

Comment by VoiceofReason 04.03.17 @ 7:40 am

I’m excluding Cam Johnson from the list of guys who would not have contributed next year, but he couldn’t make them winners by himself, and he may still have been a senior transfer after next year.

Comment by VoiceofReason 04.03.17 @ 7:42 am

Whoever wins the IM championship on 4/11 is our team for next year. They will have proved they can win and how much worse could they do in the ACC?


Comment by Pitt Dad 04.03.17 @ 10:32 am

Voice of Delusion – In his first season of playing in the “well suited” ACC Stallings guided Pitt to their their worst conference winning percentage in 40 years (4-14). Pitt’s worst season under Dixon in the ACC was 8-10 in 2014-2015. All told Pitt finished 2 games over .500 in ACC play during Dixon’s time. You boy Stallings finished with a sub .500 record in SEC play while at Vanderbilt.

Pastner didn’t exactly accomplish a miracle at GT. Gregory took them to the NIT last year and they returned much of that group. The significant addition being Okogie who was recruited by Pastner. The fact that GT was predicted to not win any ACC games in the preseason is probably more reflective on perception of Pastner’s record at Memphis. It’s also ridiculous to place any value on preseason expectations.

So look forward to Stallings first class that contains no consensus 4 stars or better, no demonstrable shooters, and no post men. The next two years should be awesome.

My prediction is that after another season of regularly losing badly in front of even smaller crowds, including a half-filled zoo, that Stallings will be done. Lyke could always reasonably claim that Stallings had had two years to prove himself, failed miserably, and that her predecessor had made a serious blunder. Who would deny that?

Comment by Barvo 04.03.17 @ 2:02 pm

No question, If Stallings’ doesn’t show a marked team improvment and a positive public perception, he could be gone as early as the middle of next season.

Gallagher himself can not afford this negative PR.

Boy, was I wrong about Barnes.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 04.03.17 @ 10:06 pm

This year’s team vastly underperformed. I was one who believed that this team’s talent better suited Stallings’ style than Dixon’s. He should have a had a NCAA team. Had that happened he would have built up enough credibility to get him through the lean years that were certain to follow.

Well now that’s all out the window. Too bad this isn’t the NBA and he could tank to get a high lottery pick…..

Comment by Boubacar Aw 04.04.17 @ 9:56 am

This is terrible news for Pitt most of you have football to look foward too but I am a basketball fan I don’t watch alot of football these next 3 years are going to be very hard I predict 2-16 next year and then 3-15 the following year in the ACC.

Comment by PittPanFan 04.06.17 @ 1:28 pm

Move over Boston College Pitt is the new bottom dweller.

Comment by PittPanFan 04.06.17 @ 1:29 pm

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