Brad Underwood and Orlando Antigua made an in-home pitch to Pittsburgh transfer Cameron Johnson last Friday, but unfortunately, it appears that the Fighting Illini have been eliminated from the recruitment.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, the 6-foot-8 wing has narrowed his list of destinations to Kentucky, Oregon, Ohio State, UCLA, Arizona, and TCU.
Pitt grad transfer Cam Johnson told ESPN his top six are: Kentucky, Oregon, Ohio St, UCLA, Arizona and TCU. Averaged 12 ppg this past season— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 21, 2017
Johnson, one of the top available transfers, averaged 11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 44.7% from the field (41.5% 3PT). The redshirt sophomore will be able to play immediately, and he’ll have two years of eligibility remaining.
While Illinois always appeared to be a long shot to land Johnson’s services, he would’ve given the roster a needed boost throughout Underwood’s first season in Champaign. The departure of Malcolm Hill leaves a gapping production hole in the starting lineup, and for now at least, it’s still a mystery as to which player(s) will step up.
Luckily, the Fighting Illini still have plenty of options to fill their four open scholarships. Kansas transfer Carlton Bragg is one of those potential additions, however he’d be required to sit out a year.
This news regarding Johnson may actually make it easier to accept more than one guard, which is good thing considering that the program is reportedly one of the frontrunners for California transfer Charlie Moore. Oh, and there’s a certain local high school star that’s on the verge of making his own announcement.
2017 G Mark Smith will decide sometime after his Ohio State visit this weekend, his dad tells me. Illinois visit went well.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 21, 2017
Regardless of the direction Illinois ultimately selects, we should have a far better understanding of the 2017-18 squad in the coming weeks.