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IU basketball transfer portal names to know: North Carolina’s Puff Johnson

Transferring North Carolina wing Puff Johnson is the latest to report a contact from IU while in the portal.

According to Jon Rothstein, Indiana is one of several schools showing interest in Johnson.

In addition to IU, Rothstein reported involvement by Kentucky, Arizona State, TCU, West Virginia, Pitt, Oklahoma, LSU, Butler, Seton Hall, Tulane, Colorado State, Grand Canyon, UC Santa Barbara, and Duquesne.

Born Donovan Christopher Johnson, his mother gave him the name Puff because he liked the cereal Cocoa Puffs.  He is the younger brother of NBA player and former North Carolina star Cameron Johnson.

The 6-foot-8 and 200 pound Johnson played in 65 games with two starts over three seasons at UNC.  His freshman season was cut short with a toe injury.

Johnson has struggled with consistency over his first three seasons.

This year he played his most minutes per game (15.9), and he averaged 4.1 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 38.7 percent from the field overall, including 28.3 percent from three on 46 attempts.

Johnson played some of his best basketball as a Tar Heel on both ends of the court in the 2022 NCAA Tournament when he averaged 5.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 11.3 minutes in the six NCAA Tournament games.

He tied his career highs with five field goals and six rebounds in 18 minutes in the national championship game vs. Kansas.  Johnson scored 11 points vs. the Jayhawks, including nine in the second half.  He scored seven straight points for UNC in the second half, including a three-pointer that tied the game at 57.

Johnson also hit both free throws to tie the game at 67 with 4:36 to play in the national semifinal vs. Duke.

At Indiana this year, Johnson scored six points, all from the free throw line, and he added a pair of steals.

Johnson graduated in 2020 from Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix.  There he was coached by former NBA guard Mike Bibby, who played in the league for IU coach Mike Woodson.  Bibby recently spoke glowingly of Woodson.

A Pittsburgh, Pa. native, Johnson played his first three prep seasons at Moon Area High School in Pennsylvania.  That’s the same high school that produced IU assistant coach Brian Walsh.

Johnson has two years of eligibility remaining.

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