Probably the most puzzling and funny news story (to me at least) to come about was the future of Seton Hall men’s basketball backup center Kevin Johnson.
It did not come as a surprise to me, probably to others as well, that Kevin Johnson decided to transfer. I saw the news Monday night from Adam Zagoria’s Twitter handle (@AdamZagoria), confirming other sources that had reported this earlier in the day. I must say that there was a lot of confusion as to where this big guy would end up.
The first tweet I saw from Adam said Johnson was transferring to San Diego State. Later on in the day and into Tuesday, other sources said he could wind up at Cal-State Northridge because of his connection with former Seton Hall assistant Chris Pompey who is an option to join the staff at Northridge. Sources from San Diego State quickly shot down the news that Johnson would transfer there.
Johnson played 21 games this past season. Being an intern with athletics, I always tried to take advantage of my view of the game from the court and was usually aware of who was in the game. Kevin Johnson was not one of the players you saw on the court on a regular basis, especially toward the end of the season. Actually, he barely played, period. The couple of times I noticed he was on the court were when the crowd went wild as he was put in the game, usually for the last few minutes. At 6-foot-9, 240 pounds, Johnson only averaged 2.5 points and two rebounds last season.
Did Johnson have potential to be a great asset to the team? Every player does unless proven otherwise. Did he have that chance? No, but for good reason.
Towards the end of the season, Johnson’s behavior became an issue. I did not know details as to why his behavior changed all of a sudden but it could be that he never had more playing time after he was moved behind Aaron Geramipoor on the depth chart. As the end of the season came closer, it was easy to see that Johnson was not as interested in the game anymore especially during the BIG EAST tournament. He was stuck on the bench towards the end.
On Tuesday, it seemed that Johnson was set to transfer to Cal State-Northridge, that is until Seton Hall stepped in. Seton Hall blocked the transfer, saying that they worked too hard to get him there and they know what’s best for Johnson (via @SOrangeJuice)…*insert confused look here.* Maybe it’s just me, but I think everyone could tell that Johnson was unhappy at Seton Hall and keeping him there, hoping he would change was something that was not going to happen.
The next question is if Seton Hall was allowed to block his transfer. Sources said that if Johnson really wanted to transfer, he would have to file an appeal and would probably win because he would not be transferring to a Seton Hall opponent. Lucky for him, he did not have to do anything. Avoiding any more headaches, confusion and unnecessary delay, Seton Hall finally issued a transfer release just as Game 3 of the NBA Finals was about to begin.
As soon as this headache was over, Kevin Willard released a statement saying, “We appreciate his contributions to our program and wish him much success in his future.” I’m sure Willard meant every word he said, but then again, even if he had any negative comments about Johnson, it is good that he kept his statement short and simple.
Johnson is probably one happy guy right now, especially since he is going back home to sunny California. He becomes the fourth player to leave from Willard’s 2011 recruiting class.