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The 10 Things You Need To Know About Cam Johnson

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Tomorrow, shooting guard Cameron Johnson will arrive on Kentucky’s campus for a two-day official visit. Johnson is a grad transfer from Pitt in search of a new home and Kentucky is one of six schools he’s considering. Given Johnson’s skills as a shooter, his three years of college experience, and two remaining years of eligibility, he is a hot commodity on the transfer market for programs in search of experience, like the Cats. With that in mind, let’s get to know Cameron Johnson, aka “Cam.”

1. The Basics

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Shooting Guard
6-8, 210 lbs.
Birthdate: March 3, 1996
Hometown: Moon Township, Pennsylvania
Class: Redshirt sophomore

As a high schooler, Johnson was considered the 60th best shooting guard in the 2014 class by 247 Sports. He picked Pitt over Columbia, Penn, Boston College, Stanford, Rice, Richmond, and Virginia. If those Ivy League offers aren’t indication enough, Johnson is one smart cookie, a two-time all-ACC academic team selection with a 3.9 GPA. After three years at Pitt, he will graduate this spring and have two years of eligibility at the school of his choice. His final list: Kentucky, Arizona, Ohio State, Oregon, UCLA, and TCU.

2. He averaged 11.9 points off 44.7% shooting last season

Kentucky is in dire need of shooters for next season, and Johnson’s a pretty good one. Last year, he averaged 11.9 points off 44.7% shooting, 41.5% from behind the three-point line. He also averaged 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

Here are his season averages:

SEASON MIN FG% 3PT% FT% REB AST BLK STL TO PTS
2016-17 33.3 0.447 0.415 0.811 4.5 2.3 0.3 0.9 1.2 11.9
2015-16 11.7 0.397 0.375 0.808 1.8 0.5 0.2 0.3 0.5 4.8
2014-15 14.4 0.394 0.348 0.500 1.1 0.5 0.4 0.1 0.5 4.5

Here’s how Johnson’s 41.5% three-point shooting average compares to past Kentucky shooters:

  • Malik Monk: 39.7%
  • Jamal Murray: 40.8%
  • Devin Booker: 41.1%
  • Doron Lamb: 47.5%

Man, who would have guessed Doron Lamb had the highest three-point percentage of that bunch?

3. He injured his shoulder his freshman year

Johnson played in the first eight games of his freshman season before injuring his shoulder and receiving a medical redshirt. That’s why as a graduate transfer, he’ll have two years of eligibility remaining, which is pretty rare. Yet another reason Calipari wants him, despite his disdain for the grad transfer process (which I’ll get to in a bit).

4. His father played for Pitt around the time Calipari was an assistant there

Not only was Cam Johnson born in Calipari’s hometown of Moon Township, Pennsylvania, his dad was a player at Pitt around the time that Calipari was an assistant on the Pitt staff. Cal left Pitt to take the head coaching job at UMass in 1988, which is also the year that Gilbert Johnson, Cam’s dad, joined the program as a junior college transfer. Calipari’s years at Pitt were the time in which he was cutting his teeth as a recruiter, so odds are he had a hand in bringing Johnson on board. If that’s not enough, Johnson Sr. has known Kenny Payne for over 30 years, according to the Herald-Leader.

In a hilarious aside, check out “Tips from the Panthers” on the back of Gilbert Johnson’s playing card:

True then and true now.

5. His brother played for Calipari’s alma mater

Need another Calipari connection? After transferring from Princeton, Cam’s brother Aaron played for Clarion, just like Calipari. Not only that, Aaron was a recipient of the John Calipari Endowment Scholarship. When it comes to this grad transfer, it really is a small world.

6. His breakout performance came against Syracuse in the 2016 ACC Tournament

Johnson came into his own in the opening round of the 2016 ACC Tournament, when he scored 24 points including four threes to help Pitt beat Syracuse:

7. He carried that performance into next season

Johnson finished fifth in the ACC in three-point percentage (.415) and eighth in three-point field goals (2.36 3pg.) last season. Not too shabby in a conference that also included Luke Kennard, Joel Berry II, and Kyle Guy.

8. Why is he leaving Pitt?

Aside from the fact that he’s finishing up his degree and can go to a higher profile program, is the fact that Kevin Stallings is now his coach good enough reason? It would be for me. Stallings took over at Pitt after Jamie Dixon left for TCU last year, which also explains why TCU is on Johnson’s list.

9. Why Calipari would make an exception for this grad transfer

During the tournament, Calipari went on a rant about grad transfers during one of his media opportunities, complaining that they leave mid-major programs in a lurch. This was in response to Drexel firing Cal’s friend Bruiser Flint after the program struggled to recover from Damion Lee transferring to Louisville. While Calipari pursuing a grad transfer a month after going on that rant seems hypocritical, here are three reasons why it’s not:

  • Pitt is in the ACC, arguably the best conference in the sport
  • Stallings is just in his second year there and a player wanting out after a coaching change is pretty common (especially when it’s Stallings…it’s worth mentioning that Johnson is one of four Pitt players to leave the program since the season ended)
  • Johnson has two years of eligibility remaining. That’s a lot of time to reshape your future, and considering Pitt’s in rebuilding mode, this is the perfect opportunity

10. He’s more than a consolation prize for Kevin Knox

Most recruiting pundits don’t think Kentucky is among the favorites for five-star small forward Kevin Knox and consider Johnson as an excellent consolation prize. I think he’s more than that. On what will essentially be a brand-new roster, Johnson can provide some much needed experience in the backcourt, along with reliable shooting. His off the court success in the classroom doesn’t hurt either. For all of those reasons, while we would love to have Knox, I think Johnson’s a more important addition. Fortunately, we’re hearing if this visit goes well, the chances are high he’ll be a Cat.

So, come on down and enjoy yourself, Cam.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

21 Comments for The 10 Things You Need To Know About Cam Johnson



  1. chris43
    8:05 pm April 25, 2017 Permalink

    We could def use a guy like this. Heck he’s 6’8 and shoots a high percentage…..sign me up!!! 😄



  2. nicky
    8:07 pm April 25, 2017 Permalink

    “For all of those reasons, while we would love to have Knox, I think Johnson’s a more important addition”

    Exactly TT…



  3. BlueNotes
    8:10 pm April 25, 2017 Permalink

    There’s also the Senora Vance connection. Cam attended Rhema Christian School in Moon Twp where his dad is volunteer basketball coach. His Spanish teacher, Senora Vance, makes sure every student know the U.K. Wildcats are the best basketball team to watch if they want to improve their skills



  4. poppycat
    8:51 pm April 25, 2017 Permalink

    60 th rated SG..Overall ranking.???? 3* maybe.
    That’s some improvement .Good Coaching.



  5. jim tom
    9:27 pm April 25, 2017 Permalink

    Yawn. Crappies are biting. Who cares. Ain’t no title coming this way anytime soon . Cats are runnin who cares ? Zero and done



  6. CharlestonCayuts
    11:53 pm April 25, 2017 Permalink

    Not sure im “Crazy” about this Cameron….



    • Sentient Third Eye
      10:09 am April 26, 2017 Permalink

      Don’t hold his name against him. I’m sure he was not named after a certain Indoor Stadium where Satanic rituals in dark blue are regularly carried out.



  7. plumloopy
    12:24 am April 26, 2017 Permalink

    I guess it’s hard to get too excited about a guy scoring 12 points for an also-ran team. Yay.



    • Booby Petrino
      9:27 am April 26, 2017 Permalink

      but yet let’s complain about all our 5 starts because they leave early. Don’t want 3 stars bc they aren’t good enough, don’t want 5 stars bc they’re too good. I guess we should only recruit 4 stars???



    • Booby Petrino
      9:28 am April 26, 2017 Permalink

      *5 stars, not starts lol



  8. CatsfaninFL
    8:13 am April 26, 2017 Permalink

    “Man, who would have guessed Doron Lamb had the highest three-point percentage of that bunch?”

    Anyone who remembers him? He was money…and a big reason we went to a FF with him as a frosh and won a title as a Soph….couldn’t sag on Anthony and TJones knowing he was back there to knock down a 3 at almost half his shots. I think everyone forgets because he didn’t pan out in the NBA…



    • WatchutalkinboutWillis
      8:18 am April 26, 2017 Permalink

      Agreed. Lamb was amazing as a college player. Those other three will be great pros but they were all streaky in college. Lamb was rarely if ever streaky.



    • dballrb
      2:06 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      Took the words right out of my mind,when Kansas went zone Lamb hit back to back 3s to put the lead back to 16.Wiltjer was also shooting in the mid 40s.Had great shooting,WELL balanced team=NC.



  9. Sentient Third Eye
    8:22 am April 26, 2017 Permalink

    To be honest, Johnson would be a better fit for Kentucky than Knox because he’s almost as talented, is a year older and more experienced, and looks to be able to play the 2 or 3 easily.



    • Jiminy Crickets
      11:26 am April 26, 2017 Permalink

      no offense. While I too would love to see him sign, mainly because he seems like the exact player most of us against the one and done would want. But to say he is “almost as talented” as Knox is a stretch. Knox would start over Vanderbilt or Washington, while Cam will be much more of a Willis/Wiltjer kinda guy, a guy who comes off bench to provide shooting, but cant really get up and down the floor or play defense.



  10. kyle heavy
    10:21 am April 26, 2017 Permalink

    I would prefer to get this player more than anyone else left on the uncommitted list. He brings invaluable experience–something we definitely need.



  11. rosquirto
    12:11 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

    I’d love to get this fellow but we must get the big fella mamba.



    • rosquirto
      12:13 pm April 26, 2017 Permalink

      I mean mo bamba