Xavier Johnson was the the first of five members of the Pitt men’s basketball team to enter the transfer portal back on Feb. 24, and on Wednesday, he announced that he would continue his college career at Indiana.
The three-year starter at Pitt was the second recruit to commit to the program after Jeff Capel was hired in 2018. The 6’3”, 200-pound point guard would become the focal point of the Pitt offense in the first year of the Capel era, leading the Panthers with 15.5 points and 4.5 assists per game as a freshman. And although his role on the team evolved over time, Johnson remained a capable contributor and grew as a play facilitator, improving his assist-to-turnover ratio on an annual basis.
This season, Johnson averaged 14.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. That placed him third on the team in scoring and first in assists. He also ranked fifth in the ACC in assists, with a total of 103 in 18 games. However, turnovers were an issue for Johnson throughout his Pitt career, and that trend continued in his final season with the Panthers, as he finished the season ranked sixth in the ACC, with 59.
At Indiana, Johnson will play under recently hired Hoosiers head coach Mike Woodson and join another former member of the Pitt backcourt in Parker Stewart. Stewart, who played at Pitt under Kevin Stallings, joined the Hoosiers in December after spending two years at UT – Martin. Bloomington has become a common destination for former Pitt guards in recent years, as point guard Josh Newkirk also ended up there after leaving Pitt in 2015.
Johnson left Pitt before the conclusion of the season, and his decision to leave came a week after Capel publicly expressed his frustration with the frequency of Johnson’s technical foul trouble. Au’Diese Toney left the program one day after Johnson and ended up at Arkansas. Gerald Drumgoole, Terrell Brown and Abdoul Karim Coulibaly then followed the two into the transfer portal, with Brown heading to San Diego and Coulibaly ultimately deciding to join St. Bonaventure. As for Drumgoole, his next destination, as of now, remains unknown.