Pittsburgh Panthers PG Xavier Johnson enters college basketball transfer portal in surprising exit

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Panthers junior point guard Xavier Johnson is transferring.

The school made the surprise announcement Wednesday. Head men's basketball coach Jeff Capel said in a statement "it was in everyone's best interests that we part ways."

Johnson will enter the transfer portal immediately. The move ends an eventful three-year run with the Panthers for Johnson, who averaged 14.2 points in 81 career games, 78 starts.

Johnson, from Woodbridge, Virginia, arrived shortly after Capel was hired in the spring of 2018 and made the All-Atlantic Coast Conference freshman team in 2018-19. He leaves ranked 30th on the school's career points list (1,152).

Johnson has been one of the program's few constants during Capel's tenure as he attempts to rebuild the Panthers after a difficult run under Kevin Stallings. Although it's unclear what led to the decision, Johnson was asked to come off the bench rather than start twice this month, including a 32-point performance as a reserve in an upset victory over Virginia Tech on Feb. 3.

The Panthers (9-9 overall, 5-8 ACC) have struggled of late, dropping seven of eight after a win over Duke on Jan. 19. Pitt will visit NC State on Sunday.