Pittsburgh graduate transfer Cam Johnson has been granted -- more than two months after he informed Panthers coach Kevin Stallings that he would be leaving -- his full release. The news comes via multiple reports Thursday evening, including from Inside Carolina.
The final chapter of this saga comes after a month's worth of negative publicity for Pitt. Johnson committed to play for North Carolina on Tuesday. With Johnson lobbying the NCAA on his behalf, all restrictions were lifted. Stallings/Pittsburgh had initially blocked Johnson from transferring anywhere in the ACC, then continued to hold a redshirt stipulation over Johnson.
Johnson has two years left on his playing clock. He is an unusual case of a graduate transfer who holds two seasons' worth of eligibility. This was made possible because Johnson lost a year of playing time to injury when he was a freshman, but because of summer classes, he graduated in three years.
Johnson fought the mandate from Pitt, citing lack of precedent or language in the NCAA's official rulebook that allowed for any graduate transfer to be held out for a redshirt season after transferring.
His addition to Roy Williams' lineup is a big-time boost for the reigning national champs. Johnson is a lean wing with a shooting touch, a good replacement for Justin Jackson, who left early for the NBA. The Tar Heels will hope to get production similar to or better than what Johnson gave Pitt last season: 11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, plus 42 percent from 3-point range.
The Tar Heels. With Johnson now set to play for the Tar Heels right away, UNC has a case for the top 10.