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Oregon Shifts Focus to Cameron Johnson

Dana Altman turns attention to the Pittsburgh transfer

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Bowen has enrolled in summer classes at Louisville. Now that Oregon’s top target is seemingly no longer available, the Ducks have shifted their focus to Pittsburgh transfer Cameron Johnson. He is the No. 2 overall transfer prospect.

Well, that was anticlimactic. If you had Rick Pitino’s team as the recipient of the 5-star All-American, congrats. Not many saw that one coming. Insert your own punchline here.

Ironically, the Cardinals didn’t seem interested in Bowen over the last month. However, it seems like they already sealed the deal. On to the next.

The Ducks are “all in” on Cameron Johnson. He is the best player available for the 2017 season. With the high school elite committed, Johnson will be the target of many looking for a final piece to their puzzle.

Oregon’s coaching staff has been on the heels of Cam all spring. That will only intensify now. The sharpshooter from Pitt graduated after just three years. Yet, he still has two years of eligibility remaining. You don’t see that very often. He is an exceptionally talented human being.

Pittsburgh v North Carolina
Cam Johnson is an assassin from downtown. Since he was a child, the Pennsylvania product dreamt of playing for the North Carolina Tar Heels. UNC may not have been interested in him during high school, but they want him now. Nevertheless, Pitt will not make it easy on them. Johnson will be forced to sit out next year if he commits to an ACC school.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Johnson has a handful of suitors. Following his visit to Eugene last month, the Ducks are a legitimate destination. Kentucky, UCLA, Arizona and North Carolina have all shown interest, as well.

The Tar Heels were Johnson’s favorite team growing up. He has mentioned his interest to play for North Carolina. However, his former head coach Kevin Stallings will NOT allow that to happen without a fight.

Pitt instated a rule that will punish Johnson if decides to transfer to another ACC school. He is allowed to transfer anywhere else and play next season. However, if Cam chooses an ACC school, then he must SIT OUT the 2017-18 season.

Aside from Bowen, the former Pitt Panther is my favorite player available. He was my No. 2 ranked transfer product entering the offseason, behind only Oregon’s Elijah Brown.

The 6-foot-7 sniper will bring experience and leadership to his new school. Not to mention, an impressive offensive arsenal. For comparison purposes, think of him as a bigger, longer Tyler Dorsey. CJ would fit in perfectly on this current Oregon roster.

Impressively, he finished fifth in the ACC in 3-point percentage (.415) and eighth in field goals from downtown at 2.3 per game.

The transfer prospect has played top-level competition in the ACC the last three years. He has range from everywhere on the floor. Additionally, CJ is an 80 percent free throw shooter that can spread the floor with his length.

Maybe the best part about Johnson is his Basketball IQ. He is incredibly intelligent. It’s not often that a team receives a graduate transfer with two years of eligibility. It’s almost unheard of from a recruiting perspective, especially in basketball.

His upside is great and some are even projecting a breakout campaign in 2017. Sure, Bowen was the highly-coveted, younger prospect. Yet, it will take time to develop his game at the collegiate level. Johnson will need nothing more than a practice or two.

He was basically a 3.5-star prospect coming out of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Pennsylvania. Johnson was a composite 83 recruit in high school, but scouting rankings varied between three and four stars. Plus, he has matured instrumentally over the last 12 months. That can’t be measured.

Oregon’s Projected Starting Five:

PG - Payton Pritchard

SG - Elijah Brown

SF - Cam Johnson

PF - Troy Brown Jr.

C - Kenny Wooten Jr.


F - Paul White

Pittsburgh v Duke
The graduate transfer is in a unique situation. Not only has he played three years of college basketball in the ACC already, but Johnson has two more years of eligibility remaining. At the end of the day, he is a lead candidate to breakout next season. Oregon would benefit greatly from his presence on and off the floor.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With Johnson playing on the wing, this line-up would force Oregon to play smaller with Brown Jr. at the power forward spot. However, we witnessed an undersized 6-foot-6 Dillon Brooks dominate the power forward position the last three years. It can be done.

Johnson is a small forward, but could play at the four during stretches. If he adds weight or grows during the offseason, he is suited to play a hybrid role.

This recent Bowen news may be discouraging, but the thought of Cam Johnson wearing green and yellow would help people forget pretty quickly. With a youthful Duck squad, the addition of another player with collegiate experience would be invaluable.

The ever-changing climate of college basketball favors teams with experience like the 2016-17 Oregon team that reached the Final Four. With Johnson, the Ducks would have enough leadership and experience to succeed.

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