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Cameron Johnson adds North Carolina Basketball to list; gets alteration on ACC block

It’s now possible for Johnson to transfer to an ACC school, but there’s a catch.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like Cameron Johnson may stay within the ACC after all, or at least, he’s trying to keep that option open.

Johnson told Inside Carolina that Pittsburgh has lifted the ACC transfer block, but there’s a catch. If he does transfer to another ACC program, he must sit out a year, something he’s hoping to get lifted as well.

“Now Coach (Roy) Williams is trying to see if we can get Pitt to release the one-year sit-out on my release,” Johnson explained. “The most important thing now is getting it so I can play right away. It doesn't make any sense to just lose a year of eligibility, because I'm already on the clock on my five (years of eligibility to play four seasons). The main focus is just to get that down.

“I think it's just contacting certain people now who are within all of this. It's mostly what they're doing right now, in terms of talking to the ACC people and Pitt people. If I have to do further action in the future, then I'll do what I have to do.”

It’s unheard of for a player to transfer from one program to another within the same conference, even as a graduate transfer. It wouldn’t make sense for Pittsburgh to go to someone on their schedule and get to face him 1-3 times per year for the next two seasons.

Still, Johnson and UNC are trying to get the restriction lifted so he can seriously consider the Tar Heels, because it sounds like they won’t be a legitimate option if it isn’t lifted.

The schools Johnson is now considering include Arizona, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oregon, TCU and UCLA. He’s taken official visits to Arizona, Kentucky, Oregon and UCLA, which means he still has one of the NCAA-allowed five official trips left to use. There is no limit on unofficial visits though, so he can take as many of those visits as he wants.

Johnson is also waiting to see what all of the schools he’s considering keep or lose to the NBA Draft, including decisions from Rawle Alkins and Hamidou Diallo.

“There's still some moving parts with the draft,” he said. “Some guys from Arizona (Rawle Alkins) and some guys from Kentucky (Hamidou Diallo). Once those moving pieces start to settle, other teams, too - even North Carolina with (Tony) Bradley - it will give me a clearer picture of everybody's roster. That'll be a sign to wait a little bit longer or not wait a little bit longer."

I’m still leaning towards Arizona being the pick, but if Alkins returns to school, then Kentucky goes back into the lead, assuming Diallo remains in the draft as expected.