It’s officially official. Dior Johnson isn’t coming to Syracuse. That’s not new. What is new is his commitment to Oregon.
That might come as a surprise to Syracuse fans. After all, the rumor was that Johnson dropped his commitment to SU because of academic struggles. For that reason, the consensus was that Johnson would take his talents to the G League, make some money, and cruise to the NBA Draft one year later.
So, why Oregon? No, not because of Quincy Guerrier. Like all other recruits, it comes down to relationships. Johnson said, “The relationship I have been able to establish with Coach Altman is special and being that he is a legendary coach, I feel that learning from him on a daily basis on and off the court will be huge for my development.”
That has to send a chill down SU fans’ spines. Jim Boeheim is supposed to be the legendary coach that attracts recruits. But Altman has made a name for himself, and is nationally regarded, not quite as an equal, but as a worthy adversary. Johnson wanted a legendary coach, and he knew he wasn’t limited to the “hometown team” to get that.
It’s also important to look back on the Johnson saga and acknowledge that he was never going to come to Syracuse. Not necessarily because he is “too good for Syracuse”, as many critics argued, but because he committed so early. Johnson was just a kid, having just finished his freshman season when the Orange rolled in with an offer.
“In the past, I was immature with some of the decisions I have made being that everything surrounding basketball started to happen at a very young age for me. That came with me not embracing the right guidance and not understanding how certain decisions can affect my future.”
Hearing that should be an even bigger gut-punch. Johnson indirectly says that he doesn’t believe Syracuse can help him realize his first round potential in just one season in the collegiate ranks. Instead, he trusts Oregon to catapult him to super-stardom.