Pitt point guard Xavier Johnson will enter the transfer portal and will sit out the rest of the 2020-21 season, the program announced on Wednesday. The news was first reported by Craig Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Johnson, 21, has been Pitt’s starting point guard since he arrived on campus in 2018, making 81 starts in that time period while scoring over 1,000 points in his Pitt career and averaging 13.7 points per game.
“The Pitt men’s basketball program and Xavier Johnson have mutually agreed that it is in everyone’s best interest to part ways,” Capel said in a press release. “He will enter then transfer portal and is no longer a member of our program. We wish him the best of luck as he looks to continue his career elsewhere.”
This season, Johnson was Pitt’s third-leading scorer at 14.2 points per game and led the team in assists with 5.7 per game.
But Johnson saw a slightly decreased role this season, as he averaged 28.6 minutes per game after averaging 31.2 and 33.2 minutes per game in his first two seasons. That largely stemmed from foul trouble, but Johnson was also benched twice by Pitt head coach Jeff Capel for undisciplined play. He came off the bench against Virginia Tech and NC State.
Johnson departs with three games remaining on Pitt’s regular season schedule. The Panthers (9-9, 5-8 ACC) have lost seven of their last eight and have this week off before Sunday’s game at NC State.
They’ll finish their regular season against Wake Forest on March 2 and at Clemson on March 6.
Freshman Femi Odukale has been Pitt’s primary backup for Johnson this season and he started the two games that Johnson did not. Odukale has averaged 4.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and two assists per game in his first collegiate season. Walk-on Onye Ezeakudo is Pitt’s only other regular point guard.
Johnson is the third player to transfer from the Pitt program since the end of the 2020 season. Shooting guards Trey McGowens (Nebraska) and Ryan Murphy (Duquesne) transferred in the 2020 offseason.