On a day when Pitt lost its ace recruiter, the Panthers surprised by adding a WPIAL star.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart senior Cameron Johnson signed with Pitt on Monday, giving the Panthers three WPIAL recruits in the Class of 2014.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon confirmed assistant coach Barry Rohrssen has left his staff. Rohrssen is expected to join John Calipari’s staff at Kentucky to replace former Pitt player and assistant Orlando Antigua, who was hired as head coach at USF.
“I’m excited about Barry getting this opportunity,” Dixon said. “His goals are changing, and his life’s changing now that he’s engaged.”
Brian Regan, Pitt’s director of basketball operations, is filling in for Rohrssen on the recruiting trail this week. Dixon said he doesn’t yet have a candidate to replace Rohrssen, who has New York City ties and helped Pitt sign Chris Taft, Carl Krauser and Levance Fields during his first stint as a Pitt assistant.
Rohrssen also was the point man in luring Mustapha Heron, a five-star sophomore swingman from West Haven, Conn., who committed to Pitt in January.
“My relationship with Coach Rohrssen was why I picked Pitt,” Heron said. “Now, I’m trying to build a relationship with Coach Dixon.”
But his departure didn’t stop Tyrone Haughton, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound junior center from Iowa Western Community College, from signing with the Panthers.
“Ty’s a shot-blocker,” Dixon said of Haughton, who set a school record with 185 career blocked shots. “We’re not looking for a lot of scoring from him, but we need that defensive presence.”
Haughton is expected to contend with senior Derrick Randall for a spot in the starting lineup, and Johnson chose Pitt over scholarship offers from Elon, Rice and Wofford and was receiving interest from Boston College, Stanford and Virginia.
The 6-foot-8, 185-pound Johnson — who grew 6 inches between his junior and senior seasons — averaged 27.8 points, eight rebounds and five assists and finished with 1,175 career points.
“He’s the classic late bloomer,” Dixon said. “We didn’t want to be wondering a year or two from now why we didn’t recruit him.”
Dixon visited Johnson — whose father, Gil, played for the Panthers from 1988-90 — Sunday to offer a scholarship.
“Coach Dixon said he saw how much I improved since the summer and said he saw the potential he could pull out of me,” said Johnson, who has a 4.4 GPA and scored 1,960 on the SAT and 32 on the ACT. “It was always a dream, and I knew I had the ability, too, if I could hit that growth spurt. It’s pretty cool.”
The class also features Haughton, a pair of 6-8 swingmen in former Beaver Falls star Sheldon Jeter and Hampton senior Ryan Luther, and 6-11 center Shaquille Doorson of the Netherlands.