UNC Basketball: Cameron Johnson commits to UNC

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Getty Images

Cam Johnson, one of several players to leave the Pitt basketball program after last season, will enroll at North Carolina and join the defending national champion Tar Heels, Johnson's father Gil said Tuesday.

Johnson - a 6-foot-9 wing - emerged this spring as a United Kingdom recruiting target as John Calipari looked to bolster his backcourt for the 2017-18 season, and he took the first official visit of his new recruitment to Lexington in April.

Here's the deal with Johnson: He redshirted one of his three seasons at Pitt, so he still has two seasons of college eligibility remaining.

Johnson, who averaged 11.9 points per game last season for the Panthers, told ESPN that he's optimistic that the ban will be lifted.

"We have remained consistent with our athletic department policy, within NCAA legislation, stipulating student-athletes are restricted from transferring to institutions within the Atlantic Coast Conference and those on our schedule next season", Pittsburgh assistant athletics director for media relations Matt Plizga said in a statement. Whenever Johnson plays, UNC will be getting a solid wing player with great size at 6-8 and 210 pounds that can be a major factor on the perimeter. For more than a month, he has been seeking a full release from Pitt, which has placed restrictions on where Johnson can and cannot play next season.

There are no other players on UK's recruiting radar for the 2017 cycle.

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Johnson was a coveted graduate transfer, having two years of eligibility left after graduating early.

Assuming Johnson is able to play in 2017-18, he represents a huge addition for North Carolina.

"Cameron Johnson GRADUATED from Pitt, and stayed at Pitt when his coach, Jamie Dixon, bolted to TCU", Bilas recently wrote on Twitter. UNC coach Roy Williams "and his staff seem very confident and comfortable with the procedures, so I am optimistic". "The NCAA is now evaluating the graduate transfer rule and its application to this situation".

There is no ACC rule barring a graduate transfer from being immediately eligible after moving within the league. The brass at Pitt, including head coach Kevin Stallings, believed otherwise. "I feel that should be available to any student-athlete who earns their degree". Unfortunately, Pitt has continued to try and block my wish to attend North Carolina.

"If Cameron were to transfer within the ACC, he would be eligible to receive financial aid immediately but would have to sit out a year of competition due to standard NCAA transfer regulations".

Johnson confirmed his commitment, first reported by ESPN, in a text message but added that he was "not yet immediately eligible" to play next season.

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