Johnny Juzang officially announced his intention to enter his name into the transfer portal on Twitter on Friday afternoon. The buzz about a transfer by Juzang had died down as his play picked up down the stretch, but there was a point in the season where it looked inevitable that he would join Kahlil Whitney and leave the program.
Per Jack Pilgrim at KSR, he had heard that Juzang “had his bags packed” in January. If you look at the start of his season, it’s not hard to see that being the case. Through his first 12 games as a Wildcat, Juzang averaged just 1.7 points in a little over 10 minutes per game. He came in with a reputation as a shooter yet shot an abysmal 22.2% from the field and 14.3% from three in those appearances.
Juzang missed the first three games of conference play due to an illness, but then he seemed to start to turn the corner. The absence of Whitney gave Juzang the minutes he needed to carve out a role in the lineup that he didn’t let go of the rest of the year. His numbers through the last 16 games don’t stand out, but you could see him slowly gain confidence in every facet of his game, including as a scorer, a shooter, on the glass and as a defender.
Hearing it’s likely either USC or Gonzaga for Johnny Juzang— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) March 27, 2020
Both programs are out west, where it seems Juzang is intent on being come next season. USC has several of his former AAU teammates, while Gonzaga presents a better chance to move back west and still play for a legitimate national title contender.
With decisions about next year’s backcourt still up in the air, Juzang looked as if he’d still have that same role to play next season. Still, more opportunity and a chance to likely play back on the west coast was something he couldn’t pass up on. When you compare the two, the situation appears to be no different than Jemarl Baker’s decision last season. They’re similar players with similar backgrounds that had similar roles and skills who came to the same decision.
Juzang likely would’ve been coming off the bench again next year, but he would’ve been the perfect player for the part which is a big loss for Kentucky. Calipari raved about his scoring ability at the start of the year but, when that didn’t work out, he still worked every day and did everything that was asked of him on the floor with an enthusiastic attitude.
That’s what will make Juzang a successful player wherever he goes next and Big Blue Nation wishes him all the best at the next stop on his journey.