Indiana men’s basketball got some big news today when it was announced that point guard Xavier Johnson would be granted a medical hardship waiver, allowing him to return for another season of college basketball.
Johnson has played in parts of two seasons now with Indiana, stepping right into the starting point guard role once he transferred from Pittsburgh. Even after Indiana added five-star, one-and-done talent in Jalen Hood-Schifino, Johnson was tabbed as a starter next to him for his experience and playmaking ability.
Johnson last played on December 17, in Indiana’s loss at Kansas. He broke his foot in that game and required surgery, but aimed to come back for the return of the season until he announced in March that he would be applying for the medical hardship waiver.
Had the waiver not been granted, Indiana would have been heading into next year with one point guard on the roster, four-star recruit Gabe Cupps out of Ohio. Cupps figures to be a starter in time, but having an experienced player like Johnson will help ease him into the college game.
In his last full season at Indiana, Johnson was named an honorable mention on the Big Ten all conference team, averaging over 12 points and five assists per game in 2021-22. Johnson really elevated his play in crunch time, bumping his scoring average up to 14.2 points per game in postseason play with Indiana’s season on the line.
Johnson also hit 38.3% of his threes that season, making him an invaluable asset to a team that will be losing its best perimeter scorer in Miller Kopp.
Look for the staff to try to add a shooter or two in the portal still, but this was a big domino to fall regarding next year’s roster construction. Between Johnson, Kel’el Ware, and Malik Reneau, a starting line up is starting to take shape here.