“Having an elite leader like [Coach Jeff Capel], after us talking I knew Pitt is where I needed to be.”
The last week or so has brought a lot of news on the Oregon Ducks basketball front, particular when it comes to one — former, now — player.
That player is Dior Johnson, who is rated by 247Sports as the No. 7 PG in the 2022 class, and No. 37 player overall in the nation. After committing to join the Ducks last summer and signing his national letter of intent in the fall, Johnson asked out of that NLI recently and was granted his release.
RELATED: Ducks drop in recruiting rankings after Dior Johnson leaves
Johnson de-committed from Oregon last week, and on Sunday, announced a new top-3 that included the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Pittsburgh Panthers, and Washington State Cougars.
On Monday, he announced his commitment to Pittsburgh.
A lot of Duck fans can connect a few dots to see the reasons behind Johnson’s decision to leave. As one of the top players in the 2022 class, Johnson projects to be a starting player, and major contributor wherever he goes. However, the Ducks brought back veteran PG Will Richardson this offseason, as well as incoming transfer guards Keeshawn Barthelemy and Jermaine Couisnard. It’s safe to say that Johnson was going to be fighting hard for minutes on the floor.
After his commitment to Pittsburgh, though, the phenom high schooler explained to ESPN the reasoning that went into his decision ultimately.
“I was looking for a coach to challenge me and hold me in high account,” Johnson said to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. “I still have some things to work on and another level to tap into, in all phases of the game. Coach [Jeff] Capel has a great track record and was a great player himself. I honestly feel like he’s going to pour into me as a person and player. Having an elite leader like himself, after us talking I knew Pitt is where I needed to be.”
This is not the first time that Johnson picked a school and then changed his mind. He committed to play at Syracuse in February 2020 but elected to change gears after nine months and reopened his recruitment, eventually settling on Oregon in June 2021. A year later, he again elected to reopen his recruitment, quickly deciding to commit to Capel and the Panthers.
“Deep down I’m a young man that loves this game of basketball and it’s allowed me to do so much, early in my career,” Johnson said. “I also understand that to put myself in the best position possible, you need to be led by truth-worthy, high-character men and Jeff Capel is that.”
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