Pittsburgh transfer Xavier Johnson announced his commitment to Indiana University this afternoon on his social media. The 6-foot-3 point guard is the first new player addition to the Indiana Hoosier roster under new head coach Mike Woodson. Johnson spent three years at Pittsburgh, where he had 1,152 points, 312 rebounds, 415 assists, and 124 steals across his 84-game career. He averaged 13.7 points per game in his collegiate career.
He will have two years of eligibility remaining (additional year of eligibility due to COVID-19 season).
Notably, Johnson was the first player to surpass 750 points and 300 assists as a sophomore for the Panther’s program, and he had drawn a total of 49 offensive fouls by the end of his sophomore year. He shoots at a 40.2% clip on the floor, including 33.6% from behind the arc. Johnson is a 76.1% career free point shooter.
Johnson’s relationship to the Indiana program is primarily connected through retained Indiana assistant Kenya Hunter, who recruited him back in high school. Hunter, who worked on Tim Miles’ coaching staff, received the commitment of Johnson to Nebraska back in 2018. When it was announced that Hunter was leaving the Huskers to join UConn, Johnson decided to de-commit as a result. At the time, he was a three-star recruit and ranked in the top 250 nationally and he was considered as Nebraska’s top recruiting prize.
Xavier Johnson Game Analysis
Johnson is an athletic and speedy guard that pressures opponents with his ability to not only aggressively attack the rim, but also the ability to apply pressure in the open court when bringing the ball up or on an offensive transition.
He has a deadly first step that allows him to throw off defenders and create space in the lane if an opponent is unable to match Johnson’s speed. Attacking the rim is not a problem at all for him, and he draws a number of fouls as a result (earning approximately 5.2 free throw attempts per game).
Johnson will become an important defensive case study for new Indiana assistant Dane Fife. The 200-pound guard has drawn over 49 offensive fouls through two years and is one of the leaders in the steals category. He has strong defensive presence on-ball even while being undersized.
Fife earned a number of accolades for his defense abilities as a player and also his defensive development as a coach. He was the 2002 Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Despite the sheer amount of potential for Johnson, there are still areas for him to grow and improve. The first area is protecting the rock. Johnson averaged 3.5 turnovers per game, while averaging just shy of 5 assists per game. His raw, athletic abilities allow him to blow by opponents, but at the same time create opportunities for turnovers if he does not execute properly.
He has been described as a “Ferrari with no brakes.”
His three point shooting is decent, but not great as he is hitting roughly 1 in every 3 attempts. With Mike Woodson’s offense, it will be interesting to see his role and how he fits in the scheme.
Also noteworthy, Johnson has a history of talking to referees. There was a period in early 2021 where Johnson was assessed three technical fouls in five games.
Xavier Johnson Highlight Videos
Featured Photo: University of Pittsburgh Athletics