Cam Johnson Granted Release to Transfer to UNC from Pitt

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2017

FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, file photo, Pittsburgh's Cameron Johnson (23) shoots after getting by Syracuse's Frank Howard during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Pittsburgh. Johnson has committed to play at North Carolina as a graduate transfer, but is seeking to be eligible to play immediately. Pittsburgh has said Johnson should sit out one year. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The North Carolina Tar Heels added talented depth to their backcourt Thursday. 

Cam Johnson told ESPN's Jeff Goodman he was released from the Pittsburgh Panthers and cleared to play for the defending champions next season as a graduate transfer. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports confirmed the news, citing a source.

This comes after Johnson said, "North Carolina is the best fit for me," following other visits to Kentucky, UCLA, Arizona and Oregon, per Goodman.

However, this was a trickier situation than a straightforward graduate transfer. Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News detailed the proceedings, noting the Pittsburgh athletics department said it wouldn't allow Johnson to gain immediate eligibility if he transferred within the ACC.

Johnson then released a statement after he "contacted the NCAA to see if there was an applicable association statute that would forbid him, a graduate transfer, from being immediately eligible," DeCourcy wrote. "Per Johnson, the NCAA stated there was none."

Now Johnson will reportedly join the Tar Heels this upcoming season and should help them challenge for another deep NCAA tournament run alongside returnees Theo Pinson and 2017 Final Four Most Outstanding Player Joel Berry.

Johnson was fairly quiet in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and averaged fewer than five points and one assist a night but turned the corner in 2016-17 with plenty of career-best numbers, including points (11.9), assists (2.3), rebounds (4.5), steals (0.9), field-goal percentage (44.7) and three-point percentage (41.5).

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