On Monday night, sources confirmed to Lions247 that University of Pittsburgh sophomore guard John Johnson, had transferred to Penn State. After athletic department made the official release earlier today, Lions247 was able to catch up with the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Philly native following his decision to get the story behind his commitment.
Johnson averaged 4.2 points a game in 39 contests as a freshman at Pittsburgh.
The following is the latest installment of our popular series, Q&A with the Nittany Lions’ Newest Commitment.
Lions247: Can you take us back and evaluate your freshman year at Pittsburgh?
John Johnson: “My freshman year at Pitt was productive. I got a lot better. I improved at playing the point guard position. I put on some weight and got stronger, I got quicker, and I’d been working on my game. As far as the team, we didn’t have a great year, but we went to the CBI tournament.”
Lions247: “After working out over the summer and returning to Pittsburgh this fall, what ultimately led to your decision to transfer?”
John Johnson: “I wasn’t thinking about transferring, but as the year went on I just saw that is what I needed to do.”
Lions247: “How did the process work out after it was announced you were looking to transfer?”
John Johnson: “The schools interested in me started contacting my AAU and my mentor, and after that the coaches were in contact with me. I was focused on finishing my semester here.”
Lions247: “Coaches from which schools made contact with you?”
Johnson will have to sit out a year before suiting up for the Nittany Lions.
John Johnson: “South Carolina, St. Joseph's, La Salle, Marshall, Penn State.”
Lions247: “I know you visited Penn State for a weekend. How did that go?”
John Johnson: “I went up there on a Sunday. I watched how those guys practice and saw the different kind of things they were doing.”
Lions247: “When you were there, what did you think of Penn State’s campus and facilities?”
John Johnson: “Man, those facilities are top-of-the-line. From the practice gyms to the weight room, everything is state-of-the-art. As far as the team and the coaches, I just think Penn State is a program I can help build up, and I really like what Coach Chambers is doing there with that program.”
Lions247: “Going off that, how did the coaching staff say you would be fitting into the lineup at Penn State?”
John Johnson: “Basically, he told me - Coach Chambers watched me while I was in high school and he was at Villanova - he expects me to come to Penn State and be a scorer. Of course I’ll be playing defense too and working just as hard on that end.”
Lions247: “So what is the plan for you over the next month or so?”
John Johnson: “I’m probably going to go home when I finish this semester, spend the holidays with my family, and then after that get up to Penn State and then start practicing with the team.”
Lions247: “Obviously you have to sit out a year, what are you looking to improve upon during that time period so you’ll be able to step right in contribute?”
John Johnson: “I’m going to work on everything. I’m going to try to get even faster and stronger, work on my ball-handling - there is always something you can work on to get better and improve your game. Attitude, attitude is key with Coach Chambers, so I’m going to work on that too.”
Lions247: “Can you shed any information on your NCAA eligibility status?”
John Johnson: “I’m not really sure yet.”
Lions247: “How does it feel to have your situation resolved and be a Nittany Lion?”
John Johnson: “Man, I’m excited. Words can’t even explain how I feel right now. When the news first came out, getting to play for a coach like Coach Chambers, and a guard like D.J. Newbill, who I have been playing against my whole life, it’s going to be great to play with him.”
Lions247: “What can Penn State fans expect from a Philly-led backcourt of John Johnson and D.J. Newbill?”
John Johnson: “Havoc. We’re going to wreak havoc, man. We’re going to bring that Philly attitude to every game. I can’t wait.”