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Former Syracuse recruit Dior Johnson commits to UCF

Not one, but two once-prized Syracuse basketball recruits will be playing together next year over a thousand miles away from the Dome. Yesterday it was reported that Dior Johnson, a once four-star recruit for Syracuse who decommitted, is now transferring to the University of Central Florida. He joins Benny Williams, who was dismissed from SU this past season

For almost nine months in 2020, it seemed like Syracuse had a future program-altering player in Johnson, a consensus top-fifty player in the 2022 class who is a Kingston, New York native. After a visit on February 1, 2020, just six days later Johnson announced his commitment to Syracuse. But nine months later the dream was over as the point guard decommitted.

In interviews, Johnson talked about not having the relationship he wanted with Jim Boeheim. On the other hand, Boeheim claims to have never fully believed Johnson was coming to SU.

The warning signs were there. In high school, he played for nine different high schools across five states. He would eventually commit to Oregon, but pull a similar move and decommit.

It seemed like the saga was over when Johnson committed and enrolled to Pitt for the 2022-23 school year. He was even teasing his return to SU on social media.

But then came legal troubles – in December of 2022 Johnson pled guilty to misdemeanor simple assault and stangulation.

Johnson ended up redshirting his freshman year, and took the JUCO route this past season at Clarendon College. He dominated, scoring 29.7 points per game in 21 games. That was enough for UCF to give him another D1 chance.

Johnson is part of a UCF squad that has been built of former top recruits who are struggling to find their way in the NCAA. On top of Johnson and Williams, the Knights have former four-star transfers JJ Taylor, who faced a suspension at Memphis last year, and Mikey Williams, a former top-ranked player who had a felony gun conviction.

Johnson is obviously a dominant force on the court. But as was seen with Williams this past season, off-court behavior is valued with on-court play, especially with Adrian Autry. While the Dior Johnson to Syracuse dream was short-lived, for both sides it seems to have ended up being the right move.

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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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