UCLA basketball gets a second surprise commitment from the transfer portal

Mick Cronin was able to get another unexpected commitment in the transfer portal.
UCLA basketball
UCLA basketball / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Former USC guard Kobe Johnson announced that he is transferring to UCLA.

You don't hear about Duke players transferring to North Carolina or Michigan State players transferring to Michigan, so it is very unusual to hear about a USC player transferring to UCLA. However, it is not completely shocking as we saw in football this offseason.

Safety Kamari Ramsey and cornerback John Humphrey both left UCLA and transferred to USC this offseason in football. They followed former UCLA defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn who left to join the Trojans coaching staff. Therefore, it has happened in football but it is unusual to see a player from USC or UCLA transfer to their cross-town rival in basketball.

USC had their head coach Andy Enfield leave to take the head coaching job at SMU. Johnson entered the transfer portal on March 22nd and committed to UCLA on April 4th. Johnson who played for the Trojans for three seasons and was one of USC's captains this season is a great addition for UCLA. Another scholarship opened up for UCLA when Will McClendon entered the transfer portal, similar to when UCLA guard Ilane Fibleuil entered the transfer portal and Skyy Clark announced that he was transferring to UCLA.

He averaged 10.9 points, 4.6 rebounds. 3.3 assists and 2.2 steals this season at USC, where he was named for the second straight season to the All-Pac-12 defensive team. He has good size at 6-foot-6 and can guard taller guards on the perimeter. This past season he did start in 28 of 31 games for the Trojans while shooting 40.4% from the floor and 31.3% from 3-point range.

What is most impressive about Johnson is that he played well in his last four games of the season. He had 15 points and four rebounds in a victory over Arizona State and then he followed that performance up with 19 points, six steals, and four assists in an upset victory over Arizona. In the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament, he had 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals in a victory over Washington. Finally, in his last game in a Trojan uniform, he put up 14 points, had eight rebounds, and two assists against Arizona.

Overall this past season, Johnson was the Trojans' third-leading scorer, and second-leading rebounder, and led USC in steals per game. He is a leader, an excellent defender, and fits the mold of a player that Cronin wants and more importantly, needs on his team for next season.

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