Just a few games into the season sophomore guard John Johnson saw the writing on the wall. He had been passed on the depth chart by freshman James Robinson at point guard. Any time at shooting guard was similarly diminished with the combination of Cameron Wright and Trey Zeigler backing up Travon Woodall. So Johnson announced that he'd be leaving the program and this week it was announced that he'd be heading to State College.
Pat Chambers is quietly doing a nice job upgrading the talent at Penn State. He has still has an upward climb, but I think the combination of John Johnson and Shaler's Geno Thorpe could be a small but effective backcourt for the Lions.
Things went south quickly for Flipp at Pitt, who tweeted that he was perfectly healthy after Dixon told the media that he didn't play due to illness. As PennLive notes, not playing defense for Jamie Dixon is usually a one-way ticket to the end of the bench:
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon has mandated that anyone who gets run this season must give it all up on defense. After last year's pratfall following the Travon Woodall injury, Dixon made it known that until the Panthers reasserted themselves in the national hierarchy, he was playing the guys who played the best D.
And Robinson was not one of those guys. He's too slight at 6 feet to handle big opposing off-guards and not quick enough to defend most lead guards. With Woodall back and playing at the two-guard, Johnson was headed for bit-part time this season.
I think Johnson was athletically capable of playing satisfactory defense, but just never learned to give it the effort that Dixon demanded. For all his charisma and big plays in Greentree, Flipp never really materialized into a role for the Panthers.
You can now follow John Johnson's career over at Black Shoe Diaries, one of the best collegiate blogs on the internet, despite being about Penn State.
With 13 scholarships and a rotation of usually around eight guys, I never begrudge a player for leaving (EXCEPTION: Birch, Khem). Cardiac Hill wishes John Johnson nothing but success in his time at Penn State.