Johnson Drops In On Pitt

A win like the one Pitt had on Monday night over UConn is big in terms of exposure, especially for future recruits. Durand Johnson--already committed, and already signed with the early signing period--couldn't find enough ways to be excited about Monday night's win.

Durand Johnson came to Pittsburgh on Monday for an unofficial visit, specifically to just go to Monday night's Pitt-UConn win. He was treated to an impressive 78-63 win over the rival Huskies.

Afterwards, to say that Johnson is even more excited about being a Panther or even more excited to join the Big East as a freshman next year, is an understatement.

"It was a good game; they left it all out there," Johnson said. "It was crazy. I could tell that coach (Pat) Skerry and coach (Jamie) Dixon were excited after the game. I can't wait to be a part of it all. The whole atmosphere, everything.

"There were a lot of students on (winter) break too. They say the Petersen (Events Center) is normally (louder) than (Monday‘s crowd). That's crazy."

Dixon and Skerry have a professional relationship with all the recruits they come in contact with. It's a natural part of the recruiting game. Johnson could tell that it was difficult for the coaching staff to hold back any emotions about how big Monday‘s win was.

"After the game, they were all smiles," Johnson explained. "When they saw me, they said, ‘We can't wait until you're here. This is the big time, baby.' To come in and see them beat the number-four team in the country. How can you get more amped up for that?"

Johnson was particularly impressed with the play of Ashton Gibbs, who led Pitt with 21 points in Monday night's win.

"Ashton Gibbs, that's my man," Johnson said. "He shows that if you go and put the work in--and he had 21 points to lead the game--you can have a good game. He shows how hard he can work."

Looking for the possibility of playing as a freshman next year, Johnson came away impressed with the play of a particular Pitt freshman.

"They stepped up defensively, overall," Johnson said of Pitt's defensive effort. "That freshman, J.J. Moore, he took a few charges. The whole Pitt team, you can see they wanted to stop Kemba Walker. What Moore did, that was big defensively."

Johnson goes back to his Brewster Academy team, who is a perfect 11-0 on the season, and a consensus No. 1 team in the country according to several outlets. One of Brewster's chief rivals is Notre Dame Academy, who is led by fellow 2011 Pitt commit Khem Birch. Johnson's Brewster Academy has already played Notre Dame Academy twice; coming away with a 83-66 win on November 14, and a 81-73 win on December 11, their most recent game.

Through 11 games, Johnson is averaging 17 points a game. Brewster Academy returns to action after the New Year, against New Hampton School on January 8.

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