clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

New to the Zoo: Pitt lands 3-star guard Xavier Johnson

Johnson is Jeff Capel’s second Pitt commit

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt head coach Jeff Capel only arrived in Pittsburgh a month ago, but he’s gotten to work quickly, making headlines for his seemingly perpetual effort on the recruiting trail. That work paid off on Tuesday with the commitment of four-star guard Trey McGowens, and on Saturday, Capel added three-star guard Xavier Johnson to complement McGowens in the backcourt.

The news of Johnson’s commitment initially leaked on Thursday night, but that rumor went unconfirmed until Saturday, when Johnson tweeted his decision.

Johnson and McGowens are both members of the 2018 class and should contend for playing time immediately, considering the Panthers lost top shooter Parker Stewart and assist leader Marcus Carr from their backcourt over the last month. The duo represents a step up in terms of talent from the recruits of the Kevin Stallings era, as both were coveted by major programs.

The 6’3” guard previously signed with Nebraska last November but backed off his commitment on April 13. He had offers on the table from 12 Division I teams, including Georgetown, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and Providence.

During his senior season at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia, Johnson averaged 18.4 points per game and was named the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference’s player of the year. He also played AAU ball with Team Takeover in Washington, D.C., alongside former Pitt recruit Bryce Golden and faced McGowens’ Team United in 2017.

For Capel, the additions of Johnson and McGowens demonstrate his ability to cull top talent from the Mid-Atlantic, which will likely be vital moving forward, given the region’s proximity to Pittsburgh and many of the ACC schools it’s scheduled to face on an annual basis.

After adding Johnson, Capel now has three scholarships at his disposal, although more could open up if Kene Chukwuka and Malik Ellison decide to transfer out of the program. Capel might use his next scholarship on four-star small forward Aundre Hyatt of Charlottesville, Virginia, who was offered on April 24 and could reclassify to 2018, making him eligible to play immediately.