2014 guard Cameron Johnson has committed to, and signed with Pitt today. 6'8 with a 4.6 GPA. Has grown five inches in a year and a half.— Matthew Steinbrink (@MattSteinbrink) April 21, 2014
Woah, that came out of nowhere. Pitt basketball really pulled a surprise on everyone by signing a little known recruit from right in their own backyard. Cameron Johnson from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School in Coraopolis, PA committed and signed to play for the hometown Panthers this afternoon. Johnson is virtually unknown by the major recruiting sites, but verbalcommitments.com says he had offers from UMass-Lowell, Bryant, Marist, and Columbia. Gorman adds in his article that Rice, Elon, and Wofford also offered.
Johnson certainly brings all kinds of different stories with his commitments. Of course, the growth spurt is the most notable one. To go from being a small point guard, to a rangy forward with the same skill set is definitely an intriguing aspect that Dixon and all coaches have to love. There is also the fact Johnson's father, Gil, played for the Panthers from 1988-90. On top of all else, Cameron Johnson joins Ryan Luther and Sheldon Jeter as the third local commitment, something that is rarely, if ever, seen by this program.
There are two different ways you can look at this addition. Pitt is bringing in a project, but one that is oozing with potential. It's rare to have such a crazy growth spurt, and dating back to this October article, some may think he can keep growing. The long point guard has definitely been trending lately. If you look at Michael Carter-Williams two years ago with Syracuse, and UCLA star, Kyle Anderson, you have two great examples of what type of players the tall point guard can be. Not saying Johnson is in the neighborhood of those players, but watching his film, you can see he's not quite used to his body yet, but he does have some nice, smooth qualities about his game.
On the other end of this, you can definitely look that Pitt is taking a big reach with this kid. I'll be quite honest, I did not know much about this kid at all before today. Johnson obviously had a successful career with OLSH, but he was still virtually unknown on the recruiting circuit, even locally. Johnson's bright spots beyond his size, is that he is a great student. Judging by most of his offers, some would point that notable academic schools like Rice or Columbia could have been better fits than playing in the ACC.
Chalk me up for one that likes the chance Pitt is giving this kid, because in my opinion, they have little to lose. Pitt does not need an immediate impact from a kid like Johnson, and even beyond next year, they have plenty of guards in the system already that can play. Aside from that, there's the fact that three four star underclassmen guards(Damon Wilson, Maverick Rowan, and Mustapha Heron) are currently committed to Pitt. In some sense, if the kid doesn't work out, so be it. On the other hand, if Johnson turns out to be a good player, it's all reward.
Pitt will now have to figure out what to do with a current roster member. This signing gives Pitt five newcomers, but room for only four of them. Plenty of rumors are out there involving a few members on the current team, and perhaps one of the recruits failing to qualify. These things tend to always work themselves out in the end, but it will certainly make things interesting, especially if Pitt continues to pursue different options on the transfer market.