Indiana lands transfer guard Xavier Johnson
basketball Edit

Indiana lands transfer guard Xavier Johnson

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Indiana picked up a commitment from Pitt transfer Xavier Johnson on Wednesday.

The former three-star recruit in the 2018 class averaged 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game in 18 appearances this season.

From Arlington, VA, Johnson is another result of the strong connections that IU assistant coach Kenya Hunter. Johnson had originally committed to Nebraska out of high school while Hunter was on staff. Once Hunter left to go to UConn, Johnson re-opened his recruitment.

Because of the free covid year for 2020-21 that was given to all athletes, he will have two years of eligibility remaining if he chooses to use both.

Pitt transfer guard Xavier Johnson announced his commitment to Indiana.
Pitt transfer guard Xavier Johnson announced his commitment to Indiana.

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 14.2 points in 84 career games for Pitt, including 81 starts. Johnson is an excellent playmaker as he led the ACC in assist percentage in two of his three seasons (2018-19, 2020-21). He also ranked top six in the ACC in assists per game in all three years at Pitt.

However, turnovers have also been an issue for Johnson. He has averaged 3.6 turnovers per game for his career and also led the ACC in turnovers for two straight seasons (2018-19, 2019-20). At times, those numbers were skewed due to his high usage rate, first in the ACC this season and second in the ACC in 2018-19.

For his career, he has scored in double figures in 64 games, 13 20+ point games and also two 30+ point games. This past season he had a career-high 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting against Virginia Tech.

Johnson isn't known as a terrific shooter, just 33.6 percent from three for his career on 3.3 attempts per game. He also has a career shooting percentage of 43.1 percent from two.

Indiana has struggled with point guard depth for much of the past few seasons, lacking the ability to use multiple ball handlers on the floor. New head coach Mike Woodson has talked about playing more up-tempo and wanting and needing playmakers all around the perimeter of his offense. Johnson fits that role perfectly as someone who can play on and off of the ball. His versatility will give coach Woodson multiple options.

"I think I can create an offense that everybody touches the basketball and if you can shoot the basketball, then your expected to shoot it and make shots," Woodson said. "If you can’t shoot it, then you have to do other things to help us win basketball games."

"I think last year we struggled at times because we never really played up-tempo," Trayce Jackson-Davis added. "I feel like when we played up-tempo, we were really good. I feel like we were set oriented too much. We didn't really just get the ball and go. I feel like we were more robotic than basketball players. I feel like Coach Woodson is really going to let the leashes off, let us actually play our games."

Johnson joins Rob Phinisee and Khristian Lander as the point guards currently on the roster. Sophomore guard Armaan Franklin still remains in the transfer portal.

With Johnson's addition, Indiana has now received good news once again this past week, with the addition of Parker Stewart, Khristian Lander, Jordan Geronimo and Trayce Jackson-Davis announcing they would be returning to Indiana as well.

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