Dior Johnson is no longer a member of the Pitt basketball program.
On Friday, Pitt announced that Johnson is no longer attending the University of Pittsburgh. Johnson never appeared in a game for the Panthers after committing to Pitt before last season.
Johnson, a former five-star recruit whose off-the-court troubles prevented him from playing as a freshman during the 2022-23 campaign, plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges on Dec. 9, 2022. He redshirted his freshman year and joined Pitt to practice later in the season. He also played with the Panthers during its international tour in Spain earlier this August.
It was realistic to think that Johnson, if on the active roster, would have played a significant role in the Pitt rotation. Jeff Capel’s current guards are both young and inexperienced in the program.
Freshmen Carlton Carrington and Jaland Lowe join Rhode Island transfer Ishmael Leggett as the only three scholarship guards on the roster. None of the three have ever played an official minute in a Pitt uniform outside of two games in Spain. Walk-on KJ Marshall from Reading, PA, is also in the program for his senior season.
The Panthers will rely on star forward Blake Hinson (6-foot-7), High Point transfer Zack Austin (6-foot-6), and freshman forward Marlon Barnes Jr. (6-foot-6) to stretch the floor and potentially play up on the wing. This isn’t foreign territory for Hinson, a regular at the three-point line. Hinson drained 97 threes en route to one of the best single-season performances behind the arc in Panthers history.
— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_MBB) August 12, 2023
A 6-foot-1 guard from Missouri City, Texas, Lowe is a four-star guard ranked the 82nd-best recruit in the country by Rivals.com. Lowe was named to the Jordan Brand Classic team for his high school accomplishments, an award earned by fellow Panthers Steven Adams (Class of 2012), Khem Birch (2011), and Levance Fields (2005).
Carrington totaled 10 points, four rebounds, and three assists in the Panthers’ second game in Spain, which Pitt finished 2-0 against overseas teams. The Baltimore native was also a highly-rated prospect in high school.
Leggett enters the program as a veteran guard with three years of collegiate experience. The 6-foot-3 guard started 71 of the 88 games he appeared in at Rhode Island. Leggett delivered a breakout campaign last year, averaging 16.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 39% from the floor. He connected on 32% of his three-point shots in over 34 minutes per appearance. In two games during the Spain trip, Leggett was the team’s second-leading scorer in the second contest with 14 points after totaling 13 points in the opener.
Rising sophomores Jorge and Guillermo Diaz Graham have back-to-the-basket abilities while also being good passers with limited experience on the perimeter. Erie native Will Jeffress also returns from a foot injury that kept him out the entire season.
— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_MBB) August 10, 2023
The Panthers lost a plethora of guards to graduation after winning two games in the NCAA Tournament. Nelly Cummings, Greg Elliott, Nike Sibande, and Jamarius Burton will continue their careers overseas after helping bring Pitt basketball back on the national stage. Pitt has two open scholarships remaining.
Current Pitt Roster:
Guards: Ishmael Leggett, Jaland Lowe, Carlton Carrington, KJ Marshall
Forwards: Blake Hinson, Papa Amadou Kante, Marlon Barnes Jr., Benjamin Mayhew, Vason Stephenson, Will Jeffress, Jorge Dias Graham, Guillermo Diaz Graham, Zack Austin
Center: Federiko Federiko
Pitt is now faced with the tall task of adding one, potentially two guards just days before the school semester starts on the 28th.
The transfer portal is still an option for the Panthers to add a new player, and the Pitt staff is currently scouring the portal for a veteran guard. However, at this point, most of the graduate transfer guards who had entered the portal are either committed elsewhere. Guards like Luther Muhammad (Arizona State) and Myles Ruth (Monmouth) are near the top of the list when it comes to best guards available at this time.