Pitt found itself in desperate need of some backcourt help a week ago. Not so much anymore.
The Panthers received a commitment from 3-star combo guard Xavier Johnson on Saturday. The announcement came four days after 4-star combo guard Trey McGowans announced his commitment to Pitt.
— Xavier Johnson (@TheXavierJ0) April 28, 2018
— Trey McGowens 3rd (@Trey5mac_) April 24, 2018
Johnson ranks as the 20th combo guard and 223rd overall player in the country, according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings. McGowens ranks as the 10th-best combo guard and 88th overall player.
Guards became a necessity for newly-hired Pitt coach Jeff Capel after rising sophomore guard Marcus Carr announced his intent to transfer. He averaged 10 points, 4 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game while shooting 39.6 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from behind the 3-point line.
Without Carr, the Panthers were without a true point guard, a position Capel believes is the most important on a team.
“I want to have a point guard. In my opinion, that is the only true position in the game anymore,” Capel said during his introductory press conference. “If you look at the game now, it’s completely different, so having a point guard is very important.”
It will be interesting to see if Capel views Johnson or McGowens as true point guard. If not, they may still create a backcourt that produces without the presence of a playmaker.
The additions of Johnson and McGowens give Pitt eight official players for the 2018-19 season. The Panthers are still awaiting word from junior guard Malik Ellison and sophomore forward Kene Chukwuka on whether they will return or transfer.