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.

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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