Penn State men's basketball coach Patrick Chambers announced Tuesday the addition of 6-foot, 1-inch, guard John Johnson to the Nittany Lions' program.
A transfer who played in all 39 contests for Pitt last season as a true freshman, Johnson will join the Nittany Lions after the completion of the 2012 fall semester. He will be eligible to begin competition for Penn State following the completion of the 2013 fall semester next December after completion of one full academic year of residence under NCAA transfer rules.
Johnson will return to the Bryce Jordan Center where he led his Girard College High School team to its third consecutive Pennsylvania Class A state title in 2009. Johnson played in all 39 games and started two for the University of Pittsburgh in his true freshman season of 2011-12, posting 4.2 points per game while shooting 38.4 percent (33-for-86) from 3-point range. Named a Big East Academic All-Star, he earned the team's free throw shooting award (83.3 percent) and posted a pair of double-digit scoring outings in his first season, including a career best 13 points vs. VMI. He hit a career-high tying 3-of-4 from three and scored nine points at Syracuse and made his first career start posting 10 points, four rebounds and four assists at DePaul.
A three-time Pennsylvania Associated Press Class A First Team selection who was also selected as the area's small school player of the year by the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2009-10, Johnson finished his prep career at Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J., where he earned New Jersey All-state Prep team selection to become just the second player from the Philadelphia area to earn four All-State honors in a high school career. In his four-year high school varsity career, Johnson scored a combined 2,314 points (19.6 ppg) and compiled a 95-23 record. He guided Life Center Academy to a 22-8 overall record while averaging 18.8 points, 4.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game as a senior. He shot 52.0 percent (204-396) from the floor, 38.8 percent (38-98) from three-point range and 79.8 percent (95-119) from the free throw line.
Johnson played his first three high school seasons at Girard College High School in Philadelphia, Pa. He averaged 22.2 points (578 total points), 4.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game in his junior season, hitting 35 percent (52-150) of his 3-point attempts while leading Girard College to the PIAA Class A state quarterfinals and 22-8 record. He scored 30 or more points seven times and 20-plus points in 16 games. He guided the Cavaliers to their third consecutive PIAA Class A state title and a 26-4 record as a sophomore in 2008-09 averaging 21.3 points, 5.5 assists and 3.4 steals per game. He scored over 30 points in three straight games and scored over 20 points in 17 games as a freshman.
Johnson was rated the No. 1 freshman in Philadelphia in 2007 and the No. 1 guard prospect in the city by PhillyHoops.com. He was ranked the nation's No. 69 recruit by Bob Gibbons and was listed as the nation's No. 127 recruit by Scout.com.