So is WPIAL Class A Section 1 the new hotbed for Pitt basketball recruits?
It sounds strange, doesn't it? But hey, the six-team section in the WPIAL's smallest classification had two Pitt recruits this season.
In a move that surprised many, Cam Johnson of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Coraopolis signed with Pitt today. Johnson had some scholarship offers from mid-major Division I schools, but Pitt offered him only yesterday - and it didn't take him long to accept. Pitt offered after coach Jamie Dixon came to watch Johnson work out at OLSH.
Johnson is a 6-foot-7 senior guard who you could call a late bloomer. He has grown five inches since last spring. He played point guard for OLSH.
The other player from Class A Section 1 who is a Pitt recruit is Lincoln Park's Maverick Rowan, who is only a sophomore. Rowan accepted a scholarship from Pitt last summer.
Who could've ever predicted that two players from one Class A section would be Pitt recruits? When was the last time Pitt had two recruits from the same section, let alone the same Class A section?
Johnson (pictured) was the second-leading scorer in the WPIAL this past season and averaged 26.9 points a game. He used to attend Moon High School, but transferred to OLSH as a junior. He was OLSH's quarterback in football as a junior, but didn't play football this past season.
Johnson's father, Gil, is a former Pitt player. Cam Johnson has one older brother and two younger brothers. Aaron Johnson scored more than 1,000 career points at Moon. He now plays at Clarion University.
Cam Johnson visited Marist, Bryant and Toledo either last fall or during the season. He visited Penn and Rice since the season ended.
You could call Johnson a sleeper because he was not recruited heavily by major colleges. He always played guard at younger ages and stayed at the position despite his growth spurt in the last year. He has a nice shot and obviously has great size for a guard. And he has good ballhandling skills. He is very thin, though, and needs more muscle, which should come as he grows into his body. He is not super quick, but is a pretty good shooter. He got sick late in the season and his weight eventually dropped to 168 pounds. He also sustained a fractured ankle while playing in a pickup game at Pitt's Trees Hall last month. He came back and played in the Roundball Classic two Saturdays ago and played well.
Johnson is now back to about 185 pounds, his playing weight at the start of the season. Pitt had been showing interest in Johnson for a while. But obviously, Pitt didn't pull the trigger on a scholarship offer until yesterday.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said, "We probably surprised everyone with this announcement, but to be honest he surprised us with how much he grew and we really didn't even start recruiting him until late in his senior year. He is one of these classic late bloomer guys who grew a lot in the last year. And he is actually almost a year younger than most graduating seniors so he may not be done growing, which is exciting."
Johnson turned 18 March 3.
"We certainly will have to get him into the weight room, get him bigger, get him physically stronger," said Dixon, "but he is a kid that I think a lot of coaches are going to be kicking themselves and saying 'I wish we would have grabbed him' and we are lucky to be the team that got him."