Four-star basketball recruit Dior Johnson has committed to Pittsburgh, he told ESPN on Monday.
“I was looking for a coach to challenge me and hold me in high account,” Johnson said via text. “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.”
Johnson, the No. 35 prospect in the ESPN 100, was the top available high school recruit remaining. He picked Pitt over a group of schools that included Washington State and Mississippi State.
Johnson recently decommitted from Oregon after the school signed two upperclassmen guards from the NCAA transfer portal and returned starting point guard Will Richardson, who tested the NBA draft waters.
Johnson grew up in Saugerties, New York, rising to national prominence as a seventh grader because of his outstanding ball handling, prolific scoring prowess and exciting style of play. He has bounced around the country since, attending powerhouse basketball programs Findlay Prep, IMG and Oak Hill Academy before spending the past several years in California at Mayfair, Centennial high school, Prolific Prep and Southern California Academy (SCA), never staying in one place for very long. 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 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.”
Johnson is one of eight new players on Pitt’s roster, joining transfers Nelly Cummins (Colgate), Blake Hinson (Iowa State), Greg Elliott (Marquette), and Cashius McNeilly and Federiko Federiko from junior college. The Panthers also reeled in freshman international twin big men Jorge Diaz and Guillermo Diaz from IMG Academy. The team retained its two leading scorers from last season in All-ACC big man John Hugley and Jamarius Burton, as well as guard Nike Sibande, who is returning for a sixth year of college basketball after missing all of last season with an injury.
“You will see the same hungry, tough, hard-nosed player everyone knows I am, but with an enhanced skill set, defense first mentality and a guy willing to create for others around him and for himself,” Johnson said. “No doubt in my mind I’ll be one of the best guards in the country next year.”
Jonathan Givony is an NBA Draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and International teams.