Given the number of players lost from last season’s NCAA tournament team, new St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin and his staff have a lot of work to do in preparations for the 2015-16 season. Wednesday afternoon the Red Storm received a commitment from a player with Division I experience who will be eligible to play immediately as a graduate student.
As first reported by CBSSports.com, former Pittsburgh small forward Durand Johnson has decided to join the St. John’s program. As a result of a season-long suspension Johnson did not play for the Panthers last season, with the disciplinary action removing a player who was expected to be an important contributor for Jamie Dixon’s team.
Johnson will have some game rust to shake off when he takes the floor for the Red Storm next season, as he played in just 16 games as a junior in 2013-14 before suffering a torn ACL in the second half of a win over Wake Forest in January 2014. Johnson finished that season averaging 8.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest, shooting 40.5 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Johnson’s decision also means that he rejoins St. John’s associate head coach Barry Rohrssen, who was an assistant at Pittsburgh during the 2012-13 season.
Johnson is one of two transfers joining the program this offseason, with former Tennessee forward Tariq Owens (he’ll have to sit a year) being the other. In total St. John’s has added five players to the program thus far, with the staff still working to land Malik Ellison who was visiting campus at the same time as Johnson earlier this week.