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Analyzing Dior Johnson’s Curious Decision

Oh boy, things are about to get spicy. Remember the name Dior Johnson? The #35 recruit per ESPN in the class of ’22 originally committed to Syracuse in February 2020. That marriage didn’t last long. The California-native de-committed that November. Johnson then committed to Oregon, only to de-commit once again less than a week ago. However, it didn’t take long for Johnson to find a new home. Brace yourselves Fizz nation.

Your eyes do not deceive you. Johnson will be suiting up for Pittsburgh in the fall, picking the Panthers over Mississippi State and Washington State. A curious decision, isn’t it? Pittsburgh has been nothing short of irrelevant ever since Jamie Dixon left for TCU in 2016. The program has dealt with six consecutive losing seasons, two under Kevin Stallings and four under current head coach Jeff Capel. Heck, the Panthers even went winless in ACC play back in 2018.

Johnson’s journey from school to school has been fascinating. Syracuse has become a staple in the college basketball landscape despite struggles in recent years. Oregon is a solid program that has made the Sweet 16 four times since 2016, including a Final Four appearance in 2017. So… why leave not one but two very good programs for Pitt? It’s… puzzling.

But is it possible the Orange (we’ll throw in the Ducks too) dodged a bullet? Johnson attended 10 different high schools over four years. That’s 2 and a half schools a year. That list includes basketball powerhouses IMG Academy and Prolific Prep. It’s unfair to question his motives behind leaving each individual school (one was due to a school ending its basketball program), but really? 10 schools in four years feels kind of extreme. It’s certainly a unique journey, but is it beneficial to him and/or Pittsburgh’s future?

This isn’t the last time you’ll be hearing about Johnson. SU is scheduled to face Pitt twice this season, including a game at the Dome (dates TBA). Johnson wasn’t exactly keen to hide his eagerness to pay a visit to the 315:

Johnson turned into a Twitter troll an hour BEFORE he announced his commitment. That’s quite the confidence display, isn’t it?

So let’s recap. Johnson de-commits from Syracuse, joins one of SU’s biggest rivals despite no success from that school recently, and then starts talking trash on Twitter? He is begging Central New York to shower him with boos when Pitt visits the Dome this season.

Syracuse has only seen two schools (Colgate, Cornell) more often than it has seen Pittsburgh. It isn’t exactly friendly fire when the Orange and Panthers square off. Now that Johnson will be sporting blue and yellow, this year’s matchups just became a little more must-see TV.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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