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Xavier Johnson looks to take Indiana to next level
Xavier Johnson had a very impressive performance in the Big Ten tournament which helped Indiana clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament last season. (Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Xavier Johnson looks to take Indiana to next level

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (BVM) – Last season, Xavier Johnson proved that he was a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten. The point guard will look to build off an impressive season as he aims to take Indiana to the next level and become Big Ten contenders. Before becoming a big factor for the Hoosiers, Johnson played three seasons at Pittsburgh.

Johnson played high school basketball at Bishop O’ Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia where he was named a second team All-Washington Catholic Athletic conference player. The point guard was listed as a three-star recruit and originally committed to Nebraska before ultimately deciding to decommit and sign with Pittsburgh. 

As soon as Johnson arrived in Pittsburgh, he made an immediate impact as he was named a starter for all 33 games his freshman season. Throughout his freshman year, the Woodbridge, Virginia native averaged 15.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. The point guard also led the ACC in free throws made with 157, and ranked fifth in the conference in assists with 149.

Throughout his freshman season, Johnson earned multiple accolades such as being named to the All-ACC freshman team and the ACC honor roll. The point guard also started his college career with 18 double-digit games, making that the longest streak in Pittsburgh history. 

Johnson continued to have success his sophomore season, averaging 11.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game. The Woodbridge native shared a team high of 23 double-digit scoring games, led the Panthers in scoring six times and led the team in assists in 21 games.

Xavier Johnson Indiana Hoosiers basketball
Xavier Johnson will look to lead Indiana to a deeper run in the NCAA Tournament this year after a round of 64 exit last season. (Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)

Johnson became the first player in Pittsburgh history to surpass 750 career points and 300 career assists as a sophomore. 

The point guard continued to take charge when his junior season came along, recording 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game. Johnson led the Panthers in assists with 103, including an 11-assist performance against Duke and compiling 10 assists against St. Francis.

Despite putting up impressive numbers, Johnson didn’t want to wait until the end of the season to announce that he was leaving Pittsburgh, as he entered the transfer portal in February 2021.


Johnson’s intensity and leadership are the main reasons why Indiana head coach Mike Woodson wanted him to join the Hoosiers when he was in the transfer portal a year ago. 

“He has a presence about himself that translates into his ability to provide leadership in a key role,” Woodson said when Johnson committed to Indiana. “He is a high-intensity player who brings tremendous energy on both ends of the floor.”

Johnson’s first season with Indiana was one to remember. 

The Woodbridge native finished the season placing third in the Big Ten in assists with 5.1 per game, including six assists in their road victory against Minnesota and a career-high 12 assists at Purdue. The point guard set the Indiana Big Ten tournament assist record with 22 in three games as well.

Johnson ranked ninth in the Big Ten in free-throw percentage at 78.2%. The point guard placed second on the team with 115 free throws made and went 15-16 from the charity stripe in the Big Ten tournament. 


Johnson always found a way to make a positive impact for the Hoosiers last season whether it was by scoring, passing or playing strong defense. Some of the point guards impressive performances last year were recording 24 points against Maryland and putting up 20 points against Iowa in the Big Ten tournament.

The point guard was granted an extra year at Indiana due to the NCAA’s ruling on eligibility with the COVID-19 pandemic which he chose to use. The expectations are high for Indiana this upcoming season as they have multiple key players returning along with Johnson such as senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, redshirt senior forward Race Thompson and junior guard Trey Galloway. 

After leading Indiana to an NCAA Tournament berth last season, Johnson will look to help take the next step with the Hoosiers and compete for a Big Ten title as well as make a deeper run in the Big Dance.

Photo: Xavier Johnson had a very impressive performance in the Big Ten tournament which helped Indiana clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament last season. (Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)