While there are still a handful of high school prospects that need to settle on their college decisions, there’s long list of quality transfers on the market. Among the best ones available is Pittsburgh transfer Cameron Johnson.
Johnson, a 6-foot-7 wing prospect from Moon Township (Pa.), averaged 11.9 points and 4.5 rebounds a game last season, while connecting on 41.5-percent of his 188 three-point attempts.
Johnson has reeled in interest from a host of schools, but the schools involved at this point are Kentucky, Arizona, UCLA, Oregon, Ohio State and TCU. Johnson took his first of four scheduled official visits to Kentucky this past weekend.
“I’d say coach [John] Calipari and his success over the years and how he’s illustrated how he gets players better and to the next level,” Johnson told Scout when asked what stood out about the trip. “I’d say that’s the biggest thing.”
“We just talked about how they are going to be young,” he added. “They don’t have too much shooting on the team. There are spots they would like me to step into next season. Besides that, I like the campus. I like the coaches and I like what they have to offer.”
What was Calipari’s pitch to Johnson?
“His pitch to me was pretty much the fact that the team is young and they need some experience and some age,” Johnson said. “They have a need for a player that can shoot like myself, along with the fact that it’s Kentucky. There are pro scouts at every practice. They compete every day. It’s just a competitive environment to get better in.”
Next up for Johnson is a visit to Arizona.
“I’m leaving for Arizona soon,” Johnson said Thursday afternoon. “I have Arizona this weekend. Then Oregon and UCLA next week.”
Johnson has a connection to the Arizona program, as his father played college basketball at Pittsburgh with Wildcats head coach Sean Miller.
“It factors in a little bit because there’s familiarity and a level of trust that my dad has with him and that I have with him,” Johnson said. “We know him and his family well. I think it mostly comes down to trust factor and familiarity and comfort having him as a coach.”
“They have a spot with [Rawle] Alkins leaving, if he stays in the draft, obviously,” he added. “With him leaving they have a spot they need me to fill and there’s a role for me there with the rest of the team there. There’s a spot carved out for me there, that’s their pitch.”
Following Johnson’s trip to Arizona, he’s planning to visit UCLA and Oregon. While he knows the trips will be next week, they haven’t finalized which days at which schools.
“I’m not to sure yet,” Johnson said. “I’m still trying to figure that out.”
In UCLA’s case, they are pitching their style of play and how Johnson fits into it.
“Their interest level has been high,” Johnson said of the Bruins. “I like their style of play. They get up and down, shoot a lot, score a lot of points and they play open. That’s what they’ve been selling me on. That it’s a good environment for me with the way they play.”
Oregon’s pitch to Johnson is to come in and fill the void of three players that recently left for the Draft.
“With [Dillon] Brooks, [Dylan] Ennis and [Tyler] Dorsey leaving, they have spots to fill and they have been filling them,” Johnson said. “They are really advertising that spot as how Brooks play or how Dorsey plays and they said myself along with Troy Brown and Elijah Brown can bring them back to a Final Four or maybe even farther. They want me to come in, step in and have a big role and help lead the team.”
After the UCLA and Oregon visits, there’s a chance Johnson will visit either TCU or Ohio State, but he’s yet to make that decision.
Is there an early leader in this recruitment?
“Obviously it’s easy for me to say right now that Kentucky is a favorite because I’ve been there,” he said. “It’s the campus that I’m most familiar with at the time and I’ve spent the most personal time with the coaches. I think a lot of it is going to have to come down to the visits. I’d say those four and then TCU and Ohio State, there’s not too much separating them. Once I get down with these visits I’ll have a better idea of their teams and how the environment is.”
“The thing about Kentucky is, I was able to visit and that was great and I loved the campus and I loved being with the guys that they have now,” he added. “Only a couple of those guys will be around next year, so I didn’t really get to meet with many of the guys that I’d be playing with next year. So I’m looking forward to that in my next three visits, being around their players and the staff and seeing their campuses and seeing how all of that feels.”
In terms of finalizing his choice, Johnson hasn’t settled on a date.
“I’m not too sure yet,” he said. “I will hash things out. I don’t know how far I’ll get in the decision making process because there’s still some moving parts to this with other recruits, players going into the Draft or players that could come back from the Draft. I’m just staying on the lookout for anything that develops.”
“For example Alkins could back to school or [Hamidou] Diallo could go back to school, although that wouldn’t really affect things. There are some recruits out there that are still making their minds up. So all of that will factor in. The more things develop or even the less things that develop it will kind of influence things.”
Johnson is available to play next season and will have two years of eligibility after redshirting a year due to injury.