Report via Indy Star’s Zach Osterman:
IU got more good roster news Wednesday, when Pitt guard Xavier Johnson announced he plans to transfer to Indiana.
Johnson picked the Hoosiers over a group of finalists that included Baylor, St. Joseph’s and Houston.
One of the top point guards in the transfer portal, Johnson averaged 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game last season. Across 18 games with the Panthers before entering the portal, Johnson posted an assist rate of 42.3%, the fourth-highest such number in the country per Ken Pomeroy.
Johnson was among the transfer market’s most-prized targets in the current cycle.
He will bolster an IU backcourt that could yet return Armaan Franklin, who is also currently in the portal. Rising sophomore point guard Khristian Lander announced his intention to withdraw from the portal and remain at Indiana earlier this week.
In Johnson, IU coach Mike Woodson adds a player who can score and distribute in equal measure. Johnson can also finish well around the rim and is a good free-throw shooter.
From a scholarship perspective, Johnson essentially fills the hole left by Al Durham’s departure. Had Durham elected to take his fifth year of eligibility in Bloomington, he would not have counted against the program’s scholarship cap, but Johnson’s arrival does not leave a serious crunch in that area, either. Were both IU players still in the portal — Franklin and Race Thompson — to choose to return to Bloomington for the 2021-22 season, Johnson would still only fill the 12th of the Hoosiers’ 13 scholarships.
Johnson’s ability to impact the game both through scoring and creating for teammates should be a welcome addition to an offense Woodson intends to ground in NBA concepts of pace and space.