After having already secured commitments from Wyoming transfer Anthony Mack and Oklahoma transfer Kam McGusty, the Miami Hurricanes got arguably their biggest new addition to the roster on Thursday when Florida Gulf Coast G Zach Johnson announced he would be coming to Miami as a grad transfer.
First of All I Would Like To Thank My FGCU Family For Everything During My Time There The Relationships I Have Built Will Never Be Forgotten. With That Being Said I am Proud and Happy To Announce That I Will Be Attending The University of Miami For My Grad Year. #CANES pic.twitter.com/xYBawAH5QS— Zach Johnson (@ZachJohns5n) April 20, 2018
The move to add Johnson was widely praised by basketball media and fans alike.
Miami just picked up the commitment of FGCU guard Zach Johnson, per source. Averaged over 16 points last season and a high school teammate of Canes’ star Dewan Huell— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) April 20, 2018
FGCU grad transfer Zach Johnson has committed to Miami.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 20, 2018
16.1 PPG, 3.0 APG. Dropped 37 in Atlantic Sun title game. First-team all-conference.
Miami has fared well with transfers. Have three on the board and it’s not even May — Zach Johnson, Anthony Mack and Kameron McGusty.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 20, 2018
Think they’re the leader in the clubhouse for best transfer period so far. https://t.co/5NQtTGM05Y— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) April 20, 2018
As indicated in the last tweet above, Johnson picked Miami over ACC rival Louisville. A Miami native, Johnson elected to return home for his 5th year instead of going to Louisville.
Johnson has been a known commodity in South Florida basketball circles for some time. He was a standout player at Miramar for 2 years before heading to perennial powerhouse Norland for 2 years. Johnson led Norland to a State Championship, and also teamed with current Canes PF Dewan Huell at that time. Huell is currently testing the NBA draft water, but he is likely to return to school, where he’ll be able to reprise his successful pairing with Johnson once again.
Johnson has always been an explosive scorer, and that ability will be put to good use at Miami. How explosive, you ask? Well, on top of dropping 37 points in the Atlantic Sun Championship game this past season, here’s a tidbit I saw with my own eyes:
Saw Zach Johnson score 25 pts as a HS freshman at Miramar in like 10 minutes in a playoff game.— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) April 20, 2018
I said then that Johnson was put on this earth to get buckets, and that’s been proven to be a pretty accurate statement.
Once a slashing scorer only, Johnson has developed his shot well over the course of time. His ability to get to the rim but also be a threat from deep make him a tough cover for any defender.
The 6’2” 195lb Johnson redshirted in 2014-15, then burst onto the scene for “Dunk City”. Never averaging less than 11.1 PPG, Johnson ended his time in Ft. Myers with career averages of 13.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game on 44% FG, 37% 3FG, and 68% FT. Johnson scored more than 1,300 points in his time at FGCU.
Johnson is a battle-tested player, having appeared in 103 games for FGCU in the last 3 years, including 86 starts. Johnson earned multiple ASun player of the week awards in his time at FGCU, and was a 1st team All-Conference performer in 2017-18. A grad transfer, Johnson will have 1 year to play 1 at Miami.
For a team that lost soon-to-be NBA draft picks Bruce Brown Jr. and Lonnie Walker IV, adding a player of Johnson’s caliber and ability is huge. He’ll likely step into the starting lineup for the Canes, and provide scoring punch from the outside that the team would have otherwise been missing.
When you consider the fact that fellow transfer Anthony Mack “feels very good” about his immediate eligibility waiver, Miami could be adding 2 talented scorers to the floor right away. But, the headliner of the new group is clearly Johnson, who had several big-time programs chasing him.
He took a detour over to Dunk City for 4 years (3 on the court), but Zach Johnson has found his way home to Miami after all.
Welcome to the crib, Zach.