Javonte Johnson latest Lobo to enter transfer portal - Albuquerque Journal

Javonte Johnson latest Lobo to enter transfer portal

Javonte Johnson shooting a 3-pointer vs. Utah State
Lobo Javonte Johnson, right, shoots one of his seven made 3-pointers over Utah State’s Just Bean during a game Jan. 8, 2022, in the Pit. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
Three-year Lobo starter Javonte Johnson is the fourth player from the program to enter the NCAA transfer portal in the past week.

The 6-foot-6 wing who started 65 games while at UNM, including the past 61 games he played for the team over the past two seasons, didn’t post any message about the decision on social media, though did share a post announcing the decision by the recruiting website VerbalCommits.com.

Johnson averaged 5.7 points and 3.5 rebounds in his Lobos career. A highly-recruited scorer out of Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs in the class of 2020, he has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

He joins teammates Emmanuel Kuac, K.J. Jenkins and fellow starter this past season Josiah Allick as players who entered their names in the transfer portal this past week, each seeking a new school to play with hopes to potentially expand on the roles they had at UNM.

For Johnson, the 2022-23 season took a slight step back statistically from his breakout sophomore season a year ago when he averaged 7.7 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 45.5% from 3-point range. This season, while the Lobos offense clearly had a three-man heirarchy of Jamal Mashburn, Jr., Jaelen House and Morris Udeze, Johnson’s numbers dipped to 5.8 points per game, 3.6 rebounds and just 31.4% shooting from 3-point range.

VerbalCommits.com lists more than 940 players currently in the NCAA’s transfer portal (there were more than 1,500 last season). The portal is a place players have to formally declare their intention to enter with their school. In doing so, their name and contact information is placed in a searchable database that alerts all other college coaches their intent to transfer from their current program and the NCAA allows those coaches to then reach out and recruit those players.

UNM’s top players thus far in the brief two-season Pitino era have been transfers — House from Arizona State, Mashburn from Minnesota, Udeze from Wichita State and Allick from Missouri-Kansas City.

End of an Era

With Johnson’s decision to move on from the program coupled with the news earlier in the week that Kuac, an athletic senior wing who had each of the past two seasons cut short due to a major leg injuries, was also entering the transfer portal, the Lobo roster is now without any of the remaining players from the Paul Weir coaching era.

Weir was fired in February 2021, making way for the March 2021 hire of Pitino to coach the Lobos.

In Pitino’s first season, Weir-era Lobo holdovers included Johnson, Kuac, Saquan Singleton (who transferred to George Mason after last season and averaged 3.3 points in 32 games played this past season), Jeremiah Francis (he transferred to Division II Emmanuel College in Georgia and averaged 8.1 points in 29 games), Valdir Manuel (he started the fall semester in 2021 with Pitino and the Lobos but never played a game before leaving the school), walk-on Jordan Arroyo (he graduated last season).

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