Pitt guard Xavier Johnson had a down year in comparison to his breakout freshman campaign, and that along with talk of turmoil within the team led to rumors that he might seek opportunities elsewhere. However, he ended that speculation on Sunday by stating he will be back at Pitt for the 2020-21 season.
Just want to clear this up with the people that’s curious. I am not going anywhere. I came to the Pittsburgh for a reason, and one of the main reasons was to leave a legacy and the main concern is to win. Please stop contacting my friends and family. Thank you! #H2P— Xavier Johnson “1” (@TheXavierJ0) March 16, 2020
”Just want to clear this up with the people that’s curious,” Johnson said in a message posted on Twitter. “I am not going anywhere. I came to Pittsburgh for a reason, and one of the main reasons was to leave a legacy and the main concern is to win. Please stop contacting my friends and family. Thank you!”
Johnson emerged as a foundational piece for Pitt at the beginning of Jeff Capel’s rebuild of the program. In his first season at Pitt, he averaged 15.5 points, 4.5 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. This season, most of his stats declined, as he averaged 11.7 points, 4.9 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals. He also shot 33.0 percent from three-point range after shooting 35.2 percent as a freshman.
Part of the reason for Johnson’s decline in productivity was the addition of other offensive weapons, such as Justin Champagnie and Ryan Murphy. The new composition of the team left Johnson better positioned as a floor general than a score-first point guard. However, that change did not always benefit the team, as consistency in scoring became an issue for Johnson and his teammates.
With that said, Johnson remains a pivotal part of Pitt's offense as the team's assist leader, and with Murphy transferring out of the program, he will be left as one of the team's top scorers. He should also receive some much-needed frontcourt help with the arrival of John Hugley next season, which could improve Pitt's offensive flow and simplify his job.